A personal story of Parkinsons Disease The Fish Chick

Thank You Thursday: Shaking Things Up

UPDATE: 26 November 2019

Just over three and half years after I wrote this original Thank You Thursday article about Shake it Up Foundation, my Dad and his Parkinson’s diagnosis, I have a sad update to share.

Dad lived with Parkinson’s Disease for over five years with reasonably slow progression, but earlier this year he got quite unwell and things rapidly worsened. We were told that it is likely he had Lewy Body’s Dementia, which is a form of Parkinsonism, but also a form of dementia. All of these conditions are challenging to diagnose as they are so closely related and can often be misdiagnosed.

After a few difficult months of increasingly failing health, sadly, we lost our dear Daddy Fish peacefully on the morning of 2nd November 2019.

I’m so very, very sad that he is gone, but feel so very fortunate and proud to have been able to call him my Dad. He will be remembered as an incredible man of great strength, positivity and love for his family.

We’ve established a fundraising page in his memory to fund research into Parkinson’s Disease with the Shake It Up Foundation and I know Dad wouldn’t expect any less from his fundraising gal.


Original article from 2016

It’s a special day today, and those that know me well, will know what it is. It’s my birthday. But that’s actually not why it’s a special day. It’s special because I share my birthday with someone amazing… my Dad. (Just like Peppa Pig’s father is called Daddy Pig, let’s call my Dad, The Fish Chick’s father, Daddy Fish.) So, in light of this special day, and this very special bloke, I’ve decided to get a little personal with today’s Thank You Thursday blog post. I hope you won’t mind…

Almost three years ago Daddy Fish was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. The diagnosis didn’t come simply or easily, but I guess like most neurological conditions it’s a little difficult to diagnose. There was test after test, followed by appointments and more appointments. But when the diagnosis was made it was a huge shock. A shock for my family, myself and, of course, a shock for Daddy Fish.

Reduced motor functions and trembling are some of the more well-known symptoms of Parkinson’s, but other challenges like cognitive impairment, and speech problems can also arise. For Daddy Fish, he has less of the trembles, and a little more of the cognitive cahllenges. To be honest, it’s pretty crappy*. Every person with Parkinson’s is affected differently, has different symptoms and the disease progresses varies. Parkinson’s Disease has no known cure. In fact, while we know the symptoms are caused by a decline in the brain chemical called dopamine, Parkinson’s Disease itself has no known cause, either. It seems there is so much, as a society, we still don’t know about the human brain.

Clyde Campbell of Shake It Up Foundation

In Australia, there is one small organisation that has quickly become a big player in the Parkinson’s world. Shake It Up Australia Foundation is a young, yet incredibly dynamic charity working to promote and fund Parkinson’s research in Australia. It was founded by a young father, Clyde Campbell, following his own Parkinson’s diagnosis. Since it was established in 2011, it has developed a partnership with the Michael J Fox Foundation and already raised over $2.1m for Australian research projects. In five short years, Shake It Up has become our country’s leader in strategic Parkinson’s research funding. Their ultimate mission is to find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease.

This coming Monday, April 11, is World Parkinson’s Day. To celebrate, Shake It Up run an initiative called Pause for Parkinson’s and invite people to get involved by hosting an event to raise awareness of the disease and making donations to help fund research to find a cure. Have a watch of this quick video from Shake it Up Founder, Clyde Campbell, about this special awareness day:

I am of the opinion that everyone’s birthdays are special, and mine is no different. But I love this day most because it is something special Daddy Fish and I have always shared. As my Mum has always called us, we’re the ‘April Babies’, and while our birthday is at the beginning of the month, I’ve always felt a strong affinity for both of us during April. And now, that Daddy Fish has Parkinson’s and the annual awareness day for this condition globally is held in April, I feel that it just makes this all the stronger.

So today, I’d like to say the biggest of Happy Birthdays to Daddy Fish, a man who is definitely so much more than this condition. He is a lovable father, a devoted husband, a successful business owner, a dedicated Western Bulldogs fan, a much-loved grandfather, and a funny and happy man that I am incredibly proud and privileged to call my Dad. ♥

And, on this special Thank You Thursday I’d also like to say a heartfelt thanks to Clyde Campbell and the team at Shake It Up for all they are doing in working to find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease. It’s a cause that has obviously become quite close to me in recent years and while a cure may not be found in Daddy Fish’s lifetime, I’d love it to be in mine. When that happens I will celebrate and party like all Daddy Fish and my birthdays have come at once. J

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.

Saying ‘it’s pretty crappy’ is just the polite version of what I’d really like to say, but I’m trying to be professional. I just don’t want you to think it’s not a big deal, or a life-changing condition, because of my politeness. For anyone that has a loved one with Parkinson’s Disease you will surely know what I mean. It completely sucks.

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