Parkinson’s Victoria is calling on the community to get active, get connected or make positive change to raise funds and awareness for the condition, with their upcoming 27forParkinson’s fundraising event in October.
Lawrence Atley OAM, 82, has answered the call with a unique and ambitious plan.
A person living with Parkinson’s, he is planning to complete 27 paintings by the end of October to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s Victoria.
It is his second year in a row participating in the fundraiser; last year he completed 27 walking routes for the event.
Though he tells Aged Care News he is ‘not a painter by nature’, he draws upon years of design expertise, working as an esteemed architect for more than 30 years.
Footscray, Victoria is home to multiple buildings designed by Atley, including The Society for the Aged, parts of Victoria University and an extension to the Footscray Town Hall.
“I’ve always been able to recognise good design,” he says.
Sadly, his condition no longer permits him to hand-write, nor draw to the technical capacity of his former years, but nonetheless his artistic works so far have defied all expectations.
“I hope that my paintings will have a positive theme and a strong brush stroke, representing a strong hand despite the effects of Parkinson’s disease,” he says.
“This challenge has already had a very positive effect on both myself and the people around me with other Parkinson’s sufferers joining in and finding some solace in painting.”
Atley is no stranger to charity work, having been awarded the Order of Australia medal in 2015 for in excess of 50 years of charity work across organisations such as Rotary International, St Vincent De Paul and YMCA.
He most notably served as President and District Governor of Footscray Rotary, as well as serving on the Western General Hospital board.
According to the humble Mr Atley, his achievements are nothing more than the sum of a few small good deeds and an enduring positive mindset.
“They are relatively small tasks but ultimately if you add them all up they add up to a significant achievement,” he says.
“You can sit at home and watch TV or you can choose to get out and do something that helps to make the world a better place to live in.”
To support Atley’s work with a donation, follow this link.
Visit 27forParkinson’s.org.au to learn more about how you can get involved this October.
Parkinson’s is the country’s second most common neurological condition, affecting at least 80,000 people across Australia.
The most common symptoms include stiffened muscles, slowing movement, changing posture and resting tremor.
Other symptoms can include cognitive change, pain, depression, anxiety, speech changes and loss of facial expression.
There is no known cause, and whilst medication and support from health care professionals can help to manage symptoms, there’s no known cure or means to slow the disease’s progression.