Stepping Up For Parkinson’s with the Port Stephens Parkinson’s Disease Support Group

Rebekah Wilson, HMRI, support group leader Bob Crampton and Laurelle Gordon-Smith.


PARKINSON’S Disease is a movement and mood disorder typically presenting with symptoms such as slowness of movement, muscle rigidity, instability, tremor, depression and anxiety.

The number of people living with Parkinson’s in Australia is thought to range from 84,000 to 212,000 (0.85 percent of population).

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A diagnosis can occur at any age with the most common age of diagnosis being 65.

Ten percent of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s are under the age of 45.

Eighteen percent of people living with Parkinson’s are of working age i.e under 65 (this includes people diagnosed under 45).

Port Stephens has a Parkinson’s Disease Support Group, which during the month of May, will be taking part in Step Up for Parkinson’s, a virtual fitness challenge designed to raise money for Parkinson’s NSW.

“Your generous support will assist us in reaching our fundraising goal of $3000 and allow Parkinson’s NSW to continue its mission to enhance the quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s, their carers and families,” said Bob Crampton, Port Stephens Parkinson’s Disease Support Group Leader.

The Port Stephens Parkinson’s Support Group’s guest speaker at their April monthly meeting was Rebekah Wilson, the Senior Philanthropy Manager from the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI).

Mr Crampton told News Of The Area, “Rebekah gave an excellent presentation outlining some of the history of HMRI and some of the research programs.

“What began in 1988 as a bold vision to improve community wellbeing in the Hunter Region of NSW, HMRI has today evolved into a world-class institute with 1500 medical researchers, students and support staff striving to prevent, treat and defeat a multitude of serious illnesses.”

One of HMRI’s current research programs explores the link between Parkinson’s and the gut biome.

Researchers have found that there is a connection between brain (neurological) health and gut health and the bugs growing in the gastrointestinal tract.

Evidence suggests the brain can directly influence the microbes in our gut while gut microbes interact with signalling to the brain.

HMRI are currently recruiting people to participate in this research.

The members of our support group were very impressed with Rebekah’s presentation and many are keen to be involved in the research, both people living with Parkinson’s and those that do not have Parkinson’s.

HMRI needs both to be involved.

Anyone who would like more information, please contact Bob Crampton by email at [email protected]

The Support Group’s next meeting will be held on Thursday 19 May and the guest speaker will be Evelyn Collins, a neurologist nurse from John Hunter Hospital, who will be accompanied by Olivia Chisholm, a PD nurse.

Cassie Morgan, the Support Group Coordinator from Parkinson’s NSW will also be attending the group’s May meeting.

The support group meets at the Tomaree Library and Community Centre and the meeting starts at 1.30pm.

Everyone is welcome.

For more information on Parkinson’s, call Parkinson’s NSW on 1800 644 189 or visit



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