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Shake It Up this World Parkinson’s Day

Redfern local of 18 years, Emma, is proof you can’t keep a good woman down. In May 2017 she was our cover girl to help boost awareness for multiple sclerosis, a disease she had been living with for seven years.

It’s been a tough time since, as she was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease in 2021. After picking herself up and dusting herself off after the second diagnosis, she has again taken on her role of an advocate and fundraiser – now for Parkinson’s research, raising much-needed funds and awareness for the Shake It Up Foundation.

The 48-year-old single mother of two recently hosted a small Pancakes for Parkinson’s fundraising event in her home.

“I wanted to thank my friends and family for supporting me over the years, but also hit them up for some much-needed cash to help fund Parkinson’s research,” she says.

“I asked James at my local cafe, Seventh Wave, to donate coffee and tea on the day for my guests. He said yes immediately, and then also offered to give a portion of his coffee sales and accept donations at his cafe on April 11, which is World Parkinson’s Day. It’s amazing how generous people can be, all you have to do is ask.

“So far, I have raised $2,000, which is amazing considering I had just 20 guests at my Pancakes for Parkinson’s brunch.

“With Parkinson’s disease being the number one growing neurological condition in the world, we really must find answers about this disease, and fast. The only way we can do this is to fund research,” Emma also tells us about the unpredictability of the condition.

“Initially I was diagnosed with FND (functional neurological disorder). I used to buzz around Redfern on my mobility scooter. I sought a second opinion on my FND and I was then diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Luckily, I was able to take medication for Parkinson’s. It changed my life forever. I am now out of the mobility scooter and on foot. Even the staff at Redfern train station were absolutely thrilled to see me walking about. But Parkinson’s is unpredictable – one minute I can be striding down Redfern Street and the next minute the medication wears off and I can’t even do up my shoelace.”

We need to give people with Parkinson’s predictability about their lives, and also people who are diagnosed in the future.

If you would like to donate to Emma‘s fundraising efforts, go to her Instagram account @livingwithpdandms/. Or if you would like to hold your own fundraiser (even your pet can get involved!) visit


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