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Holding on to my dream

Judy Phelan shares her story of hope as she prepares for her fifth A Walk in the Park.

This is now my fifth A Walk in the Park, and over the years I have proudly met my annual fundraising goal of $10,000.  It means so much to me to be able to support others with Parkinson's.

Though it's been 16 years since I was diagnosed, my own journey with Parkinson's has taken many turns.  Since A Walk in the Park last year, my symptoms have become stronger, making everyday tasks more challenging.  This year, my efforts to improve my condition led me to investigate Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). Unlike medication, it can provide a constant relief that doesn't wear off over time.

In May I had DBS surgery and for the next two weeks my Parkinson's symptoms began to disappear.  To be able to write, to move freely - it was truly miraculous.

But unfortunately, I was one of the 5% of people who subsequently developed an infection and the result was emergency surgery to remove the battery control device.  If, however, after a few more months of aggressive antibiotic treatment and the infection clears, I should be able to have the DBS device and I can return to the benefit that it provided earlier on.

For now, all my symptoms have returned, along with a sense of frustration.  But through all this, I have found comfort and inspiration in the words of Judith Durham and her song "Hold on to your dream".

My dream is that, with the help of my network and community, we can continue to contribute to research that may one day cure symptoms and alleviate the everyday suffering of those with Parkinson's.  It is my dream that as our technology continues to develop, and be less invasive, more effective treatments will be discovered.

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