The Hervey Bay Parkinson's group offers support to members of the Fraser Coast community.
The Hervey Bay Parkinson's group offers support to members of the Fraser Coast community. Contributed

Parkinson's support group members learn to cope

WHEN you live with health issues every day, it's nice to know that there's support, whether it's information or a cup of coffee and chat.

Some of the Hervey Bay Parkinson's group members enjoyed a morning out last week and talked about how they were coping.

Heather Greer was diagnosed with Parkinson's two years ago.

"My legs are moving all the time and I don't sleep very well," she said.

Heather's carer is husband Gavin.

"(It) has drawn us closer together. Now she's taken up her card-making hobby again," Gavin said.

"Parkinson's has actually brought her back to life and has opened her up to living, sometimes to excess.

"It's an eye-opener and quite a big change. I realised that before I was the taker in our relationship and didn't give much at all. Now I'm her carer I want to."

Don Burchill has had Parkinson's for 20 years and said it hadn't stopped him doing anything.

"I play bowls and I'm involved with the surf lifesaving club with training and resuscitation," he said.

"I've travelled on the Ghan, driven a caravan around Australia and I live life as it comes and enjoy every day."

In 2008 Bill Robertson's hands were shaking while he was reading the paper. Bill thought it was just old age but his wife Suri suspected something wasn't quite right.

"We realised that Parkinson's could have been starting back in 2005. He often had nightmares and would jump out of bed, hurting himself and end up in hospital," she said.

Like Don, Bill doesn't let it stop him and tries to keep his body and brain active.

"I read, swim and walk and ride my bike everywhere," he said.

For more information, phone Jaimie on 4124 4104 or Arnold on 4184 1303.