Little awareness for disease struggle on Fraser Coast

THERE are 440 people on the Fraser Coast living with Parkinson's disease but there is very little public awareness, says Jaimie de Salis.

The Hervey Bay Parkinson's Support Group founding member is hoping to give sufferers a voice on Pause 4 Parkinson's Day on April 11 by hosting an information stall at Stockland Shopping Centre in Pialba.

Ms de Salis knows first-hand the toll Parkinson's can take on sufferers and their carers after her husband Barry was diagnosed with the incurable and disabling neurological disorder 14 years ago.

She said one of the challenges was that it was "poorly understood" by the wider community.

"Sometimes when patients fall over they are accused of being affected by alcohol or drugs, and others are abused because they are too slow at the checkout in the supermarket or other venues," she said.

There is a steady increase in the incidence of Parkinson's in the region and the Hervey Bay Parkinson's Support Group, which had 25 members at its inaugural meeting in May 2011, now has more than 40 members.

Information brochures will be available at the Stockland stall, from 9am to 3pm.



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