WELLARD resident Yvonne Smith will be taking part in the Parkinson’s WA’s A Walk in the Park in honour of her father Andrew Trunkfield.
Mr Trunkfield was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s and passed away earlier this year.
Held on 18 September at Perry Lakes Reserve, A Walk in the Park is a day to celebrate the resilience of the Parkinson’s community and to help raise funds for the community-based Parkinson’s WA Nurse Specialist Service.
Ms Smith said she and her family have participated in many Parkinson’s themed events since Mr Trunkfield was diagnosed with the condition 17 years ago.
“My family has been participating in A Walk in the Park since 2013,” she said.
This year, the group are called the Trunkfield Troopers in recognition of Mr Trunkfield’s Royal Marine and Australian Army reservist days.
“I think events like this are important to get the message out that this is a condition that affects young and old and dramatically changes families, especially when it turns loved ones into carers,” Ms Smith said.
Ms Smith said the impact of her dad’s diagnosis with Parkinson’s was immeasurable and in some ways hard to define.
“There was grief for my dad that his body wouldn’t be able to keep up with his active mind and spirit from such a young age,” she said.
“Yet it also gave our family strength and unity when times were tough, as well as joy and pride that my dad was able to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day with the biggest smile on his face despite the effect Parkinson’s had on the muscles in his face.”
Ms Smith said helping to raise funds for the Parkinson’s WA Nurse Specialist Service was important to her as it had provided much needed support for her dad.
“The nurses were immediately our go-to people from the time of diagnosis,” she said.
“They linked us to the doctors, specialists, support groups and education that we needed.
“It was the Parkinson’s WA Nurse Specialists who were always available for a chat or advice when other services were not available, which was so reassuring and supportive.
“It was also the nurses who encouraged my dad to reignite his love of painting and participate in the many painting exhibitions at Parkinson’s WA, which brought great joy to all of us.”
Ms Smith said A Walk in the Park gave her family a chance to have fun, reconnect, and show people that you can get on with life despite Parkinson’s.
“It was so amazing to see how many friends and workmates came to walk with us and offer that wider community support that you sometimes forget you have,” she said.
“I love that in 2014 my dad managed to walk a section full stride, which he hadn’t done in so long.
“I guess the walk brings out the best in everyone.”
To register and find out more about A Walk in the Park visit http://perth.parkinsonswalk.com.au.