By GEMMA WOLK
The NSW government has awarded Parkinson’s NSW a funding boost during Parkinson’s Awareness Week, but Parkinson’s NSW say that it is only a starting point.
“This is the first time we’ve had some recurrent funding, so that’s really exciting. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but we really do need more,” said Miriam Dixon, CEO of Parkinson’s NSW.
The grant of $68,000 will be received over a period of three years. Parkinson’s NSW is the state’s only support group for Parkinson’s disease, however the grant is the first significant funding that they have ever received from NSW government.
“That’s great, but it’s just a starting point. We really do need to secure additional funds because currently we receive no government funding except for a couple of programmes,” said Ms Dixon.
Around 80,000 Australians suffer from Parkinson’s disease, whereas by comparison 20,000 Australians suffer from Multiple Sclerosis. Despite this, the NSW government awarded MS Research Australia a $1.4 million grant on March 4th.
“About 20,000 Australians have MS, which tends to strike when a person is in their early 20s,” said Tanya Gadiel, Member for Parramatta.
Most Parkinson’s sufferers are diagnosed between the ages of 50 and 60.
“Parkinson’s just isn’t seen as a sexy disease,” said Ms Dixon.
Carmel Tebbutt, Deputy Premier and Minister for Health announced the grant for Parkinson’s NSW. She acknowledged that Parkinson’s disease is the second most common degenerative neurological condition after Alzheimer’s, and that the funds are vital in helping with support for those suffering with Parkinson’s.
“These funds will support Parkinson’s NSW to carry out a range of activities targeted to provide support and education to those living with Parkinson’s disease and their carers,” she said.
Although Parkinson’s NSW is appreciative of the support, they are hopeful that more funding will follow in the future given the relative number of suffers of the disease.
“It is frustrating that we don’t get the recognition and support at the level that we should do, but we’re certainly very appreciative that we’ve started to get something and we look forward to other opportunities,” said Miriam Dixon.