Team lineup
Team lineup

When did you last play football?  
This month I stepped up a notch in my Parkinson's awareness activities by playing in a charity fundraising football match and participating in a number of related promotional activities to help raise some much needed funds for Parkinson's Queensland Inc Newly Diagnosed Program.

There are muscles that haven't been used in a while, clearly.
It was a lovely afternoon for kicking around a football for an hour or so, and surprisingly I didnt feel too bad at the end of it.

"Back up the bus - you actually played football Stuart?" I hear you all say.

Well yes as a matter of fact I did. In one of those moments when the call came from Miguel Diaz the CEO of Parkinson's Queensland that he was putting a team together to play a charity match against a team from a local in home support organisation Home Instead Australia the answer was simply "I'm in".

And I quickly recruited Henry who works with me and is a regular football player to join me on the team.

As the connection was made with the Home Instead team, I was asked if I would like to participate in a webinar involving their franchisees from around Australia to speak about my experiences living with Parkinson's which of course I agreed to. I went to their offices across the river in Milton to have a chat and a bit of familiarisation with the setup, and was introduced to the office crew by Natalie Meynink.  Almost immediately, I was asked by the lovely Jane Rowan if I would mind doing a couple of quick videos to help them promote the webinar to their franchisees and one to be used to promote the football match to the wider community. If they thought it would help, of course I would do that. So some hasty rearranging of the reception area, and a quick read through the main points and specific dates and times we recorded the two promo videos. One take for each. Can't have been too bad as they used them both.

The webinar went well I think. It was a fireside chat format hosted by Natalie, with input from myself and Michelle Stafford from PQ and some questions from the franchisees. I hope that there was some good takeaways for the franchisees. 

After the webinar I was given a sneak peak at the lovely jersey designs that were done for both teams by Home Instead - they are great. Even got in early and selected my number  - 17. Why 17 you ask? I work in IT. 

The promotional campaign for the match was great. Home Instead created player cards for participants from both teams and posted on both facebook and linked in to really get some momentum and awareness going. There was a serious side to this whole thing with the target to raise $10000 to support the Newly Diagnosed Parkinson's Program. There was a great opportunity to have a bit of banter and still deliver the objective of raising awareness and funds.

And one more thing followed. A conversation and question from Jane Rowan.  ABC radio want someone to talk to "would you mind". Of course the answer was yes. Some prep from Meera and Stephanie Rose from the Home Instead PR company Vaxa and we were on.

To arrive at the ABC at 6:20am meant an earlier than usual start - up at 4am to get my daily walk in as I also had Parkinson's Boxing and the actual football match in the afternoon and I didnt think I would fit it in otherwise and didnt want to break my 815 day continuous streak. 

Lorretta Ryan from the ABC was lovely and made me feel very at ease. If you want to listen in to what I had to say follow this link - start from 1:33 on the slider.

The match was fun - Miguel selected the starting line up with me included and we got underway. Home Instead lead 5-1 at the break, but Parkinson's Queensland made a remarkable comeback to level the scores 5-5 at Full time. Penalty shoot out followed with victory to Parkinson's Queensland 5-4.

And best of all over $7000 was raised for the day edging close to the $10000 target for the month long fundraising effort.  

A huge shout out to the Home Instead organisation - great campaign, great event, great result. And to all those who willingly gave their time to play, organise or be cheer squad member - thank you all. 


Being thankful 
This month was busy with a number of Parkinson's related activities and it seems that I have now settled into my self appointed "advocate" role for want of a better description. I am extremely thankful that I am able to do some of the things that I get to do such as speak to people about living with Parkinson's and what it means to me. I will basically tell anyone who is prepared to listen.

I am thankful for a number of reasons. Firstly that I am not afraid to do so. Secondly that I have been set in motion by my diagnosis. I am also thankful that I have  inherited  community spirit and a desire to help from my mum and dad. They showed  how giving a little time and energy to help others who are not so fortunate is extremely satisfying.

I was asked in one of this months interviews " If you met Parkinson's in the street, what would you say to it? ". My answer was simply "Thank you". I am thankful for this waking me up and giving me some community purpose. Thankful that my symptoms are mild and controllable. Thankful that I can use my voice to advocate for others. Thankful that I was diagnosed early and quickly. Thankful that I have met many individuals who I can help indirectly, with some inside knowledge of what they are going through. Thankful that I have great support from my family, friends and colleagues. Thankful that my work allows me a good deal of flexibility to do these things. Thankful that I don't have to deal with related mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. 

I have a great deal to be thankful for, and I don't take that for granted anymore. 

What Research am I doing? 
This month I am participating in a gut / dna study at UQ - its officially " Immune and inflammatory markers for Parkinson's Disease progression."

This one was another easy one -  a questionnaire interview, a spit sample, blood samples, urine sample,  height and weight measurement, and a take home poo sample kit to post back. I always think if you are not enjoying your job, just think about the poor trainee researcher who gets to open posted in samples.

All these research projects are like extra check ups - I figure if anything shows up in the testing serious enough they will let me know.

Becoming an Aussie.

Yes.. A little more progress. Forms to fill and lodge. Yawn. It's a drawn out process.

More help with Parkinson's awareness and advocacy.

YOPD catch up this month was a general chit chat.  #thisisparkinsons

On going through rain, and shine. Still haven't missed a day . New target 1000. #committed   

No Change to the schedule or positive impact.   

Pilates is back on Wednesday evenings, more challenges being set for me. It has been smaller numbers with just the two or three of us this each week. It is good to chat to Sakura the physio who manages the class about various things to do with the exercises and surprisingly I do work up a sweat by the time its all over. A fellow local with Parkinson's joined last week so will see what he's up to activity wise in the coming weeks. He did mention Pickleball so will find out more on that soon.

PFU Boxing and more.
Each week there is something new for the warmup. Good to see some of the old regulars reappearing too.

Social Outings.
Lots on the calendar, regular "Thirstday" drinks with the lads are always good. You can find us at Ballistic on Montague Road from about 4:30 each week.

Head down and focus on delivery with more work coming on stream from sometimes unexpected places. Still trying to catch up and complete some existing projects. Many new projects in the pipeline and continuing to clean up existing projects. 

Land Sailing.
Waiting for each Sunday to see what's happening at the track.... and have had a few other events happening.  Weather conditions mean no sailing. bah. 

Membership has taken a bit of a dip and we are still trying to establish the status of the Hamilton track. I hope to get some beach runs in  if there is a chance.

Otherwise for me its still so far so good.
Same Same. 

And that is all for just now - keep a lookout for the next post and thanks for tagging along!