The Tumby Bay Parkinson’s Group is inviting past and present members to celebrate the group’s 10th birthday on June 23 and the work it has done with people living with Parkinson’s disease on Eyre Peninsula.
A celebration event has been planned for June 23 at the Grand Tasman Hotel, beginning at 10am, which will include disability advocate Kelly Vincent and Parkinson’s SA chief executive officer Olivia Nassaris as guest speakers.
The event will also include a tribute to the group’s founder, Oakley Dyer.
After he was diagnosed with the disease in 2006, Mr Dyer and his wife Betsy recognised the need for a group to inform and support local people who have also been diagnosed.
After they started organising the group in 2007 it came into being in 2008 and since then has provided information and support to people living with the disease, with support from local health professionals and Parkinson’s SA.
Mr Dyer said he started the group for “selfish reasons” but it was great to see the group had helped and continued to help so many people.
“Looking back I’m surprised with how successful the group has been and is still,” he said.
“Unfortunately there are many others who are in the same boat and we’ve been able to journey on.”
Mr Dyer said one of the elements that had been great was how the group had been able to come to other Parkinson’s patients across the region to provide information.
“One of the biggest hurdles with having Parkinson’s is to not feel alone,” he said.
Mr Dyer said he was worried about the group’s future when health issues meant he could no longer lead the group, but was thankful when Natasha Clark was able to take over in 2015.
Mrs Clark was diagnosed at 36-years-old with the disease and was mentored by Mr Dyer to facilitate the group.
She said she continued to do the role because she loved to help others and the group had continued to be well supported by the local community.
“It’s great the community has been there to help me...I feel quite proud of that and very thankful,” she said.
“Hopefully I’ve been able to raise the banner that it’s not only older people that get Parkinson’s.
“I’ve met some very beautiful people and made caring, loving friendships I never would’ve made before.”
Mrs Clark said the group was not just for those diagnosed, but also for partners, family members and anyone else affected by the diagnosis.
Doug Berryman knows well about the effect a diagnosis can have after his brother Ken Berryman was diagnosed with the disease.
Mr Berryman said he remembered the difficulties his brother experienced before the diagnosis and was appreciative of the information and services the group had provided.
“For a couple years he knew he had a problem but didn’t know what it was,” he said.
“I can come as a shock to someone like him, whose life centred around fitness and sport.”
Mrs Clarke said past and present members were invited to come along to the event, as were anyone who has worked with Mr Dyer or supported the group thorughout the years.
She said the community bus was planned to pick people up in front of the Tumby Bay Medical Clinic at 9.30am.