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Don’t suffer in silence

Wednesday, 14th August, 2013

Jannice Jamieson, Julie Donlon, Barb Gillespie, Kieran Donlon, Colleen O’Brien and Geraldine Martin meet yesterday for coffee and a chat. Jannice Jamieson, Julie Donlon, Barb Gillespie, Kieran Donlon, Colleen O’Brien and Geraldine Martin meet yesterday for coffee and a chat.

By Kurtis J Eichler

Fear could be the reason why so many Broken Hill Parkinson’s disease sufferers aren’t seeking support in their battle with the illness, an advocate says.

Warrnambool man Kieran Donlon and his wife Julie - diagnosed with the disease 18 years ago - are touring Australia raising awareness of the disease and the Florey Institute.

The institute is Australia’s leading brain research centre and works to develop new treatments and medical procedures for people living with brain diseases and disorders.

Mr Donlon has cycled from Cairns to Warrnambool in 2011 raising money and awareness and last year rode for 24 hours around Albert Park in Melbourne.

The couple sat in on a local Parkinson’s disease Support Group session yesterday, which is made up of just six sufferers.

“They are busting their guts to get the Broken Hill group out there and if we can help in any way to push that barrow and to encourage people with Parkinson’s disease to touch base with the group, it would be uplifting for them,” Mr Donlon said.

“It’s hard enough to start a support group let alone keep one going.”

Figures show one in every 350 Australians have the disease which causes tremors, loss of movement and cognitive impairment when nerve cells in the brain are damaged or die.

Mr Donlon said based on these statistics there had to be 20 more people battling the disease in Broken Hill who aren’t seeking help.

“There’s nothing to be afraid of.”

And the problem will only get worse for Broken Hill which has an ageing population, he said.

“We’ll see more and more people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.”

The support group’s Geraldine Martin said they meet every second Tuesday of the month at the Barrier Social Democratic Club.

But if there was a membership boost, they would move to a more private venue.

If you would like to join, or for more information, call Geraldine on 8087 7217 or Colleen on 8087 2175.

 
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