New York Marathon for Parkinson’s

AN EAGER group of local runners laced up at Ocean Grove main beach before jogging 24km to Geelong City Hall as part of Parkinson’s Awareness Week.
Chaperoned by four VW kombis, the runners made their way up to The Terrace before heading for Grubb Road and the Bellarine Highway, en route to the council HQ in Gheringhap Street.
Caroline Pascoe, Lisa Dickson, Philip Christian and Alan Barber completed the trek while Alaine O’Connor and Andy Satler did the first leg of the course with them.
The runners were supported by patient kombi drivers Gerard Kennedy, Matt Matthews of Coastal Kombis, John Ashton and Anthony and Sally Caligari who kept the runners fuelled up and safe from the traffic.
Keeping to the runners 5-6km pace, the kombis, which had Parkinson’s Awareness signage blazened across them, attracted plenty of attention from drivers.
Part of the reason for running to Geelong City Hall was to extend the campaign of awareness that has become strong in Ocean Grove and parts of the Bellarine.
During the last four months locals have supported a campaign to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s. Under the banner of New York Marathon for Parkinson’s the local community has raised more than $13,000 to help Parkinson’s Victoria with its support, advocacy and research work.
In November Ocean Grove’s Alan Barber will be running the New York Marathon to raise money for Parkinson’s. Alan, who has two good friends who were diagnosed with Parkinson’s at a young age, aims to raise awareness. One of his friends, Richard Grimmett is partnering him in this campaign.
The campaigners are now beginning to focus their attention on the goal of acquiring a specialist Parkinson’s nurse for the Geelong/Barwon region. This position would enable people living with  Parkinson’s to remain independent longer and so reduce the costs associated with early retirement and a lack of specialist care.
“To be able to realise the local aim of a specialist Parkinson’s nurse for the region we need to involve council at least through its awareness of our campaign but in the hope that we can gain support for the initiative, be that through advocacy, support or feasibility funding,” said Barber.
“As with all preventative medicine, providing people with support mechanisms that ensure independence actually saves money in the long run. It also enables people to have a decent quality of life. Isn’t that what all levels of government should be striving to deliver anyway?”
To follow the campaign simply like the facebook page New York Marathon for Parkinson’s. To donate please go to
A LOCAL photojournalist is running in the New York Marathon this year and aims to use the opportunity to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s.
The Voice’s Alan Barber has earned a place among 50,000 others through the marathon lottery – receiving a guaranteed entry after three failed attempts.
The marathon has long been on the local runner’s ‘bucketlist’ and he hopes that he can use it to help get people talking about Parkinson’s.
“Too often Parkinson’s is dismissed as an ‘old person’s disease’. And as much as it affects more older people than younger people it can strike at any age – and does.”
Two of Alan’s good friends – separated by 16,000kms, one in the UK and one in Ocean Grove – were diagnosed in their 30s and 40s.
“While I’ll never fully understand either of my friends’ worlds, they have given me a peek behind the screen of Parkinson’s.
“We can and we must do more to take on this curse. I hope we can build some momentum and play a part in changing attitudes and building hope and optimism and solutions.”
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive, neurological disorder which requires complex clinical intervention and management. There is no cure as yet. Medication is available to treat symptoms, but this can have side effects and needs to be carefully managed and monitored.
Between 15,000 and 20,000 Victorians are diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Numbers will double with the aging population over the next 30 years.
About 30 per cent of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s are of working age. Ten per cent are under 40.
Alan is supporting Parkinson’s Victoria which desperately needs funds to employ specialist Parkinson’s community nurses for regional Victoria, as well as contributing to the global search of a cure.
In the next few editions of the Voice he will be interviewing his two friends on their experience of being diagnosed and living with Parkinson’s.
IF you would like to donate to Alan’s fundraising campaign – he is aiming for $10,000 – you can make a donation at or to learn more and follow the marathon and fundraising build-up, log into facebook and like
NewYorkMarathon ForParkinsons.
A short movie and fundraising night is to be held at the Piping Hot Chicken Shop on Thursday June 13 from 7pm-8.30pm. Everyone is welcome to attend and offer any support they can, whether or not they have experience of Parkinson’s.