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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Parkinson's Australia National Conference, Brisbane.

If this is your first time visiting this blog because you want to know about my DBS journey, please go right down to the first blog (Backpedalling), and read from there up...that's where all the interesting stuff is!

The 2012 Parkinson's Australia National Conference was held in Brisbane, Queensland from July 12 - 14.
For those overseas followers, (and I know there's lots), Queensland is meant to be our 'Florida'; i.e. warm in winter. My husband John and I left cold Melbourne in hope of warmer weather.
As expected, taking the medtronics charger on it's first plane ride, was a real pain. I had a handbag, my computer bag and the rather large and bulky charger to carry. I was frisked by security at the airport, as I cannot go through the detectors. That was ok, and expected, but also as expected, THE MEDTRONICS CARRY BAG IS A PAIN TO CARRY!!! Certainly too bulky. As there was a Medtronic display stand at The Conference, (they were major sponsors), I put my protest to the poor, unsuspecting staff, both verbally and in writing, as they gave me a survey to fill out.
And so, we walked 15 minutes through pouring rain to the Meet and Greet on Thursday night, where we registered, picked up our bags and programs, and said 'hi' to other Victorians.
The Governor General,
Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce
The next day the Conference started at 8.30am with The Governor General, Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce officially opening The Conference. Wow, I had always found her very poised, with a fabulous posture, but hearing her speak was a real treat. She spoke with such class and eloquence, revealing that her sister had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson's, so she had real empathy.
 Two very well known neurologists, Dr Barry Snow from New Zealand, and Professor Peter Silburn from Brisbane, then gave the key note address, talking about what they do.
The rest of the day was split into choices. I chose those presentations which were about people, rather than research.
The highlights for me were listening to Clyde Campbell of "Shake it up Australia Foundation", and Nicole Findlay, author of "Day by Day PD Diary."
Friday night there was a dinner which provided great vegetarian food for us, and a terrific band who got lots up on the dance floor.
A/Prof Simon Lewis from Sydney, led the Keynote address the next day. He was hilarious, telling us all about what we may expect, (constipation, falls, dementia....) with such humour that he had the audience in fits of laughter.
Again we broke up with 3 choices, many for allied care and medicos, but there was a choice for PLWP in every session.
Anne Atkins
Anne Atkins, also from Melbourne, spoke first about 'Creativity, Exercise and Socialisation.' I was envious as she spoke so positively without any notes.

Then it was my turn. The session was well attended. I hope (Yvonne) I spoke loudly and clearly, and there were good questions asked afterwards.

Other interesting talks that I attended, included Andrew Johnson, a brave newly diagnosed New Zealander in his early 40s, who gave a candid snapshot of the changes in his life since diagnoses, from lawyer to 'housedad' to his 2 young children. His positive outlook was infectious.
Jenny White gave a passionate speech titled "Parkinson's Disease; It just isn't sexy enough", and received a standing ovation to her plea for more recognition.
Niel Sligar, a PLWP in his sixties, amazed us with his gym work and fitness.
And Miriam Dixon, NSW CEO, kept us up to date with the "Young Onset Parkinson's Project.
Some of the Victorians who attended.
My husband, (a GP), attended more technical sessions; there were lots of research projects going on.... altogether a large group of people dedicated to making Parkinson's more bearable to others on so many levels.
The Conference wound up with awards being given out; Anne Atkins won one for her Poster Display, and was followed by a Panel Discussion.
I found the Panel Discussion very interesting. It consisted of "the boy's club", (my term), not a woman to be seen on it. The conference concluded with numerous members of the audience imploring the panel members to hasten more awareness and representation and funding within the Government. The audience became very passionate, and I hope that these representatives of ours will take note and hopefully by the next Conference (2015), we will see more dramatic changes in Government funding and appointments of Parkinson's nurses.
To sum up, the Conference was well worth attending; much more relevant than travelling to The USA!

1 comment:

  1. karyn....very positive and well described evolution of activities at the conference.....seems like it was well thought out and planned