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Sir Zelman Cowen Award presented to Judy Phelan

Dec. 21, 2020

Judy Phelan, a long-time supporter and fundraiser who has been living with Parkinson’s for just over 20 years, has been awarded the 2020 Sir Zelman Cowen Award for her outstanding services to the Parkinson’s community.

Judy is a Fight Parkinson’s Life Member. With the support of her family, friends and Rotary, business and local contacts, she has raised more than $100,000 directly or indirectly over the past 10 years.

She has been a consistent top 5 fundraiser for A Walk in the Park and has only missed one event, due to ill health, but which her family attended in her absence.

“Judy is a committed and prominent contributor and leader in the Parkinson’s community,” Fight Parkinson’s CEO Emma Collin said.

Judy has been a Fight Parkinson’s member since 2005 and over the years has received numerous awards, including a Certificate of Appreciation in 2015, a Community Recognition award in 2017 and Honorary Life Membership last year.

The Sir Zelman Cowen Award is Fight Parkinson’s’s highest honour, and was first awarded in 2006 to acknowledge an individual for their outstanding service to people living with Parkinson’s.

“There hasn’t been a time in my seven years at Fight Parkinson’s that Judy has not been at front and centre, not only in fundraising and activities in which she’s been a leader, but in supporting others,” Emma said.

“This included preparing and donating beautiful flower arrangements for each table at our Parkinson’s 200th anniversary dinner in 2018.”

Emma acknowledged Judy’s fundraising efforts, but said her contribution also covered awareness raising, which was just as important.

“Whether it was to speak to media, to be a walk ambassador or put your face to a campaign, you’ve always said yes. It’s not just a one-off for you, it’s been an extended period in which you’ve generously given of your time, and bought your family, networks and community along with you. You’ve been a role model and we thank you,” she said.

Judy’s daughter Sally Baldock, said it was “hard to put into words how proud I am of my Mum and how she has managed through so many battles since being diagnosed.”

“She has always been a hard worker and this determination instantly transferred into advocating for others through Fight Parkinson’s. Whether it be fundraising, education or support, she has been there for so many people.

“Even now, in her deteriorated condition, she keeps on fighting. It’s been heartbreaking to see mum go through what she has, but she has never given up. Love you more than words can say Mum. I’m so proud to be your daughter.”

Judy had built a career in hospitality and together with her husband Ian, ran the Classic Carriage Restaurant, when she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2000. Judy and Ian most recently shared their personal story of diagnosis and living with Parkinson’s as the faces of last year’s End of Year Appeal which raised over $50,000.

Communication is increasingly difficult for Judy, but she finds solace in her family and the stunning garden surrounds she and Ian have created on the Mornington Peninsula. And she is still working hard for the community, raising $5061 for the recent 27forParkinson’s online fundraiser

Judy extended her appreciation to Ian, her children Mark and Sally and partners, Tracy and Carl, her grandchildren, family, friends and members of the Rotary Club of Oakleigh Clayton Huntingdale and Rotary Club of Rosebud, both of which donated $1000 to Judy for this year’s 27forParkinson’s fundraiser.


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