A walk in the park to remember

By James Arbuthnott

CHRISTINE Anderson's dedication to improving the lives of people living with Parkinson's saw her and her family raise almost $6000 for A Walk in the Park on Sunday.

Meeting at Federation Square and walking along the Yarra river, three generations of family hit the pavement to support Christine and remember her late father, Jack Marshall, who also lived with Parkinson's.

Naming themselves 'The Marshall Megastars', the group raised a total of $5755 - more than $2000 of which Christine raised herself.

An important member of the Kyabram Parkinson's Peer Support Group, Christine said she focuses not only only physical health but also mental health issues involved with Parkinson's.

"I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2012. Although I had watched my dad deteriorate from Parkinson's, I did not recognise the symptoms in myself," she said.

"I felt sorry for dad as he struggled to communicate with us. But once I accepted that I had Parkinson's, my attitude changed.

"I did not feel sorry for myself. I resolved to become proactive and live the best life that I could. 

"Everyday tasks become more challenging and it's not just the physical side that's exhausting but the emotional side as well - the frustration, the anger and the grief."

Christine initially aimed to raise $1000. Then, Kyabram community members stepped in to transcend expectations to almost $2000. 

Armed with the support of her community and a wicked sense of humour, Christine was surprised at the generosity and support of one of her former foster children, who used to drop in to her house 'for a snack and to make insulting comments'. 

"This ratbag of a teenager has become a responsible young man and his generosity blew me away," said Christine.

"Parkinson's is stupid. Being proactive, raising money and sharing with family and friends is smart," she said.

"Don't be like Parkinson's disease, always taking away. Be like supporters of 'A Walk in the Park' and help some sufferers today."

The Kyabram Parkinson's Peer Support Group holds meetings every fourth Tuesday of the month at 10am at the Kyabram Community and Learning Centre (KCLC).

The Marshall family dedicated their walk to their 'Pa', Jack Marshall, who always had a sense of fun and unconditional love, and Christine, whose positive attitude is their inspiration to the whole family.