The work of Tumby Bay Parkinson’s Support Group founder Oakley Dyer has been recognised with a life membership with Parkinson’s SA.
Mr Dyer received his life membership in recognition of his services as support group leader of the Tumby Bay support group from 2007 to 2015.
Mr Dyer said it was an absolute surprise to be recognised in such a way.
“You don’t do it with the expectation of being recognised but it feels good that my hard work and efforts have been recognised,” he said.
Mr Dyer was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2006 and he came up with the idea for a support group in Tumby Bay after he could not find a group on Eyre Peninsula.
I like to see care brought to keeping a balance on support for the person and help for the cause.
He said from the original focus of providing individual support, the group had grown and prospered thanks to the input of its members.
“My original emphasis for the group was on personal support for people and their families,” he said.
From its beginnings the support group has reached out across Eyre Peninsula to let people know what services and treatment are available for the disease.
Last year saw the group host an ambitious event with its awareness campaign, which included a wellness expo, community information sessions and a seminar for health professionals on Lower Eyre Peninsula.
Many people from within and outside Eyre Peninsula have seen the value of what Mr Dyer has started.
Support group coordinator Natasha Clark said Mr Dyer was her point of call when she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
“Without him we wouldn’t be where we’re at today,” she said.
Parkinson’s SA group programs coordinator Anne Heard said the organisation had been aware of Mr Dyer’s activities since 2007 and the support he provided to people while living with Parkinson’s himself.
“The interesting thing about Oakley was the way he was able to establish a really broad network across the peninsula,” she said.
“He really stands out as a group facilitator because he went beyond what we would ever expect from a volunteer.”
Mr Dyer said he would like to see the work of the support group continue.
“I like to see care brought to keeping a balance on support for the person and help for the cause,” he said.
The support group is planning to hold a charity walk in Tumby Bay in April.