Shake it Up

Hey Shake It Up, thank you for spending some time in chatting with us today about Parkinson’s disease – we understand that it’s a very valued topic amongst the community, as we all know someone or we ‘are’ that someone who suffers from the disease.

Firstly, can you please tell us what your foundation does to support Parkinson’s disease?

Shake It Up Australia Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation established in 2011 to promote and fund Parkinson’s disease research in Australia. Our mission is clear; to find the cure for Parkinson’s disease.

Where did the inspiration stem from for you to get behind such an important cause?

The foundation was established by Clyde Campbell, a father of three and business owner who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2009 at the age of 44.

Following his diagnosis, Clyde set out to learn as much as he could about Parkinson’s to determine what he could do in a practical sense to assist. His search led him to the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) for Parkinson’s Research in the United States and the remarkable work they do to fund medical research around the world targeted at finding better treatments on the path to finding a cure for Parkinson’s.

The approach MJFF take to assessing, funding and project managing world’s best research all over the globe eliminates redundancy, ensures efficiency and unites the global community in the quest to find a cure. Clyde realised that funding Parkinson’s research in partnership with MJFF was the best thing that he could do to help himself, his family and over 70,000 Australians living with the disease. With that clear in his mind, Clyde founded Shake It Up Australia Foundation to give other Australians the opportunity to join his quest.

For those who don’t understand what Parkinson’s is and how it affects individuals, can you please share with us some information?

  • Parkinson’s is the second most common neurological disease in Australia after dementia.
  • The disease affects an estimated 10 million individuals worldwide – 70,000 in Australia.
  • 32 Aussies are diagnosed with the disease every day.
  • 20% of sufferers are under 50 years old and 10% are diagnosed before the age of 40.
  • For comparison purposes, the prevalence of Parkinson’s is greater than prostate, bowel and many other forms of cancer and the total number of Parkinson’s sufferers is 4 times the number of people suffering from MS.

Is it hereditary? If not, how are people diagnosed with the disease?

Several Genes has been identified as having a connection to Parkinson’s disease and scientists are continuing research into these areas.   Genetic causes relate to approximately 10% of all Parkinson’s cases, however, research into the genetic causes of Parkinson’s help scientists to also understand the sporadic forms of Parkinson’s.

What medications are currently available to help with the side effects?

A number of medications are available for the management of both motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD). All of them are directed at easing symptoms and improving quality of life. At this time, no cure or disease-modifying therapy -- one that stops or slows disease progression -- has been proven. 

The most common medication for Parkinson’s is Levodopa which replaces Dopamine in the brain.   A common side effect after long term use results in dyskinesia (involuntary, erratic movements)

Have there been any new findings lately?

Shake It Up Australia together with The Michael J. Fox Foundation is excited to be funding a new research project at the University of Queensland.  Their research team will investigate the potential of repurposing an existing blood pressure drug to slow or halt the progression of Parkinson’s disease. See more here.

How are you currently supporting those in Australia suffering from the disease?

By investing in research to find improved treatments that will stop the progression of Parkinson’s and ultimately find a cure.

Can you please share with us some exciting events that you may be hosting for World Parkinson’s Day?

Visit our website for a full list of community events for Pause4Parkinsons and to celebrate World Parkinson’s Day on 11 April.

What message are you hoping to convey to the community/the world about Parkinson’s?

We would like everyone to get behind Pause4Parkinson’s during the month of April by either holding a fundraising event or making a donation to help us reach our fundraising goal of $200,000. 100% of all funds raised goes to research targeted at finding better treatments and ultimately a cure for Parkinson’s disease.  This has been made possible by our Founding Directors’ commitment to fund all administration costs of the foundation. Most of the research projects we support are funded on a 50/50 basis with The Michael J. Fox Foundation which means that we are effectively able to double the reach of the funds we raise. This model has so far seen Shake It Up commit $3M to Australian Parkinson’s research at eight institutes around Australia.

Thank you


Sarah Long