MOVING STORY: Parkinson Disease sufferer Elaine Milner of Lennox Head with her daughter Kerryn Meanwell, trying to get Parkinson’s Disease sufferers to get together in an action group.
MOVING STORY: Parkinson Disease sufferer Elaine Milner of Lennox Head with her daughter Kerryn Meanwell, trying to get Parkinson’s Disease sufferers to get together in an action group. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Action group gets Parkinson's sufferers moving

AN action group bringing together Parkinson's Disease sufferers is underway on the Northern Rivers to try and give them better access to movement-based therapies.

The idea behind the group started when Kerryn Meanwell and her mother Elaine Milner, who is suffering from Parkinson's Disease, visited a Ballina support group.

"We started noticing a few years ago that mum was starting to shuffle when we went on our walks," she said.

"After a few trips to the GP it was suggested we do a few more tests ... it was the early onset of Parkinson's."

Ms Meanwell said the news came as a total shock.

"I was thinking, what does this involve now? What journey are we on?" she said.

"We contacted the local Parkinson's Disease support group ... coming out of that meeting it was obvious there was no exercise programs readily available on the Northern Rivers."

With that realisation she decided to look for all available exercise options for sufferers and put them under the one umbrella.

"I got in touch with a dance trainer and a personal trainer ... now there's a group called Dancing for Parkinson's coming to Lennox Head, starting August 11."

The group led bydance teacher Jodie Lee and personal trainer Amber Hitzke will run fortnightly with the aim of becoming a weekly event down the track.

Ms Meanwell said a few months ago her family decided to have physio Jim Preece visit to start Ms Wilner on a regular exercise program.

"Having Jim come around and give her specific Parkinson's exercises at home, it has really made a difference," Ms Meanwell said.

The National Parkinson Foundation found that exercise can help sufferers manage their symptoms and possibly even slow down the disease's progression.


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