Kyabram Free Press

Focus is on living

- By Myles Peterson

Parkinson’s has not stopped Kyabram’s Christine Anderson — it has inspired her to do more for her community and others living with the condition.

Next month, she is calling on those with Parkinson’s and their supporters to come together for Parkinson’s Victoria's '27forparki­nson’s.'

From October 1 to 27, those involved will be walking daily and raising funds in support of the 27,000 people living with Parkinson’s in Victoria.

Last year’s event reportedly raised $580,000.

Diagnosed in 2012 when she was working as a school teacher at Kyabram P-12, Ms Anderson’s view of Parkinson’s changed, she said, after realising that regardless of her condition, she was still a valuable and valued member of her family and community.

"I have now lived with Parkinson’s for nine years and my focus has shifted. Early on, I was self-focused, with Parkinson’s occupying much of my thinking. But I had a life, and I was missing out on fun and laughter with such a narrow focus. It was time to get back into living," Ms Anderson said.

"Our four children had left home, as had several foster children. We still had two teenage girls living with us and they needed my attention. At that stage we had five grandchild­ren — three in Bendigo and two in Melbourne. They needed me. So, I moved the focus back on to others

I CRIED ALL THE WAY HOME, WITH IMAGES OF DAD POPPING INTO MY HEAD — CHRISTINE ANDERSON

and got on with my life."

Now a member of a regular exercise group, Ms Anderson is preparing for the 27forparki­nson's event.

"I walk every day, usually with a friend from across the street, and she keeps me sane," she said.

"Friday morning is ‘Fitness Friends’ — a group of ladies who appreciate the social benefits of getting together as much as the physical.”

Ms Anderson's father also had Parkinson’s and she said her diagnosis came as a shock after her podiatrist commented on a tremor in her foot.

"When the podiatrist told me emphatical­ly that I needed to see my GP, I knew I had Parkinson’s disease. I cried all the way home, with images of Dad popping into my head as he lost his ability to smile, and talk, to chew and to blink," she said.

But today, she has learned to live with the condition and supports others with Parkinson’s.

"The medication helped, along with cutting back on work hours and joining a support group. I cruised along, somewhat in denial, and I realised that you don’t need perfect health to lead a useful life," she said.

"I retired from teaching, took over the running of the Kyabram Parkinson’s Peer Support Group, and continued to babysit grandchild­ren. I managed pretty well although occasional­ly I would lose the plot." ▯ Informatio­n on how to support the event is available at 27forparki­nsons.org.au

 ??  ?? With the family: Peter Anderson.
Christine Anderson, her grand-daughter Charlotte and son
With the family: Peter Anderson. Christine Anderson, her grand-daughter Charlotte and son

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