WHEN he is not busy directing choirs, Willetton resident Brian Dawson is passionate about inspiring the Parkinson’s community and supporting Parkinson’s WA at their biggest annual event, A Walk in the Park.
Held on September 18 at Perry Lakes Reserve, A Walk in the Park is a day to celebrate the resilience of people with Parkinson’s and raises funds for the community-based Parkinson’s WA Nurse Specialist Service.
Diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 50, Mr Dawson channelled his performance expertise, from a career spanning more than two decades, to raise funds for Parkinson’s WA.
“Last year, with my choir Close Harmony, I presented a one-man show, to sell-out houses, as a fundraiser for Parkinson’s WA,” Mr Dawson said.
“I created, wrote, and performed the show. This was the first time in an extensive career that I had undertaken such an ambitious venture, even though for years I had dreamed about it.
“In some ways, it took Parkinson’s to make me concentrate on the possibility and to make it happen. People were generous to a fault and eager to support me, and I am grateful to them.”
Mr Dawson said he hoped to find ways through his work to sensitise others to the symptoms of Parkinson’s.
“When people have not been introduced to the condition, there’s a certain discomfort as they observe the softening voice, fluttering hand, unsteady gait, or impassive face,” he said.
“(While) such respects are not harmful, they distract from the usual exchange of human interactions. It would be nice to have people recognise the symptoms and make the necessary subtle adjustments without having to explain the difference.
“As someone in the public eye, I constantly look for ways to point out a symptom through humour – to call the elephant in the room – and then get on with things.”
Mr Dawson said he looked forward to events like A Walk in the Park to enjoy the togetherness inspired by the Parkinson’s community.
“The A Walk in the Park concept is a joyous celebration and a coming together of people through adversity; both for the people with the condition and the people who support them,” he said.
“It is simple and it is humble, and together they make for something very powerful.”
Brian Dawson and his choir Close Harmony will support young Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts students, for their upcoming performance, at this year’s A Walk in the Park.