Hear from the experts and learn how a personal experience forged a career path

The Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI) has partnered with Parkinson’s NSW to host an interactive webinar into Parkinson’s research.

To mark Parkinson’s Awareness Month, and World Parkinson’s Day, community members who are living with or caring for someone with Parkinsons are invited to tune in and hear from the experts.

The webinar will run from 12:30pm on 9 April and will feature IHMRI Parkinson’s expert Professor Heath Ecroyd, Parkinson’s NSW CEO Jo-Anne Reeves, specialist nurse Nina Digiglio and IHMRI’s Dr Claire Stevens.

In Australia, 37 people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s each day.

The statistic hits close to home for Dr Claire Stevens, whose father Graham lives with the disease.

“I completed my PhD in Parkinson’s because of my Dad. I figured if I’m going to spend my life, or at least three and a half years researching something I wanted it to be for a really good reason,” she said.

Graham has lived with Parkinson’s for nearly twenty years. Five years ago he received deep brain stimulation: electrical signals implanted into the brain. The procedure significantly improved Graham’s most debilitating symptoms – his ability to walk and tremors. However, the procedure is a once off treatment and as with neurodegenerative disorders, the brain will continue to get worse over time. 

Dr. Stevens said that an event like this webinar will help the community understand how vital research funds are for her on a career and a personal level.

“Without past medical research we wouldn’t have the medication or deep brain stimulation my dad has received. We need more funding and more fabulous research, like what Heath does, so we can get closer to that cure. If not a cure, even better treatments will give people a better quality of life for longer,” said Dr Stevens.

Professor Ecroyd’s research involves understanding Parkinson’s at the molecular level.

“By understanding what causes the disease, we can try and find ways to stop this from happening, and hopefully find a treatment,” he said.

“By finding drugs that can make a difference, I hope that one day people diagnosed with diseases such as Parkinson’s do not have to be told they are fighting a debilitating and progressive disorder. Instead, I hope those people can be offered a treatment. “

Professor Ecroyd said community events are vital in making a difference.

“The research we are doing right here in the Illawarra is world class and can make a difference. By engaging with the community, including people suffering from Parkinson’s and their families, it highlights to us how important our work is to people’s lives and it inspires us to work harder towards a treatment.”

This webinar is a free event, however registration is essential.

Media contact

Lizzie Jack, Media and Content Coordinator

t: 4221 5432

e: ejack@uow.edu.au

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