LISA and Tamara Clarkson have witnessed first-hand the effect Parkinson’s disease has on a family.
Lisa’s father and Tamara’s grandfather battled the condition for almost 20 years until he passed away in February last year.
Lisa said her father’s battle with the disease seriously affected both his and her mother’s life.
“It affected my mum because dad would never want to be with anybody, so all the holidays just stopped, he wouldn’t even go away for the weekend, he became her priority and she was his carer,” she said.
“He’d get up (in the night) and fall and hurt himself, so she slept on a mattress on the floor next to the bed to make sure he didn’t go walkabouts.”
Lisa said her mother took it upon herself to look after her dad because she knew he did not want to go to a nursing home.
“They’ve spent their whole lives together, so how could they just let anyone else look after them?” she said.
“It’s the feeling of responsibility, you’ve promised to be with that person through good and bad, you’ve had the good and so here’s the bad and you just have to.
“It wasn’t an option for them, mum fought and fought to keep him with her, she didn’t want him in a nursing home because he didn’t want it.”
She said her father had been an active, energetic man who retired in his 70s and even continued to work after he initially contracted the diseases in his late 60s.
To honour his memory, the pair are volunteers for the seventh annual Walk in the Park, which takes place at Perry Lakes Reserve in Floreat on September 17 and coincides with Parkinson’s Awareness Month.
Tamara, who works in Gosnells, said it was important both sufferers and people with loved ones battling the disease knew there were plenty of avenues they could turn to for support.
“The walk is an opportunity for people with Parkinson’s to celebrate and spend a nice day out with people who understand the challenges they’re facing,” she said.
“It’s also a good opportunity to get some information and make yourself aware of the help and support groups that are available to you.”