Parkinson’s ACT Walk in the Park

Sunday 20th October 2019


What spectacular weather it was for this year’s Walk in the Park (WIP). As you are aware the PACT Committee made a decision to expand the event this year.  While honouring the traditional shorter walk of 1.5km we added three 5km bridge-to-bridge events: a Fun Run, a Walk and the first ever timed Nordic Walk in Australia.  To expand the event was a risk which the Committee thought necessary to broaden our base,  enabling us to develop and build on the services currently offered to our members and to create a wider awareness within the local community.  The Committee, and particularly the WIP subcommittee of Marcia Kimball, Jen Harkness, Kristen Pratt and Martin Pikler, put in many hours of work to make this event a success. Its efforts were rewarded with some 550 people attending - a substantial increase in the level of involvement. We'll report on accounts when we have the final figures.  Earlier this year we surveyed members to ask what they would like PACT to provide. The proceeds of this event will help us set about implementing some of your suggestions in the new year.

There has been a lot of positive feedback on the event from members of PACT and other attendees who said they felt an overwhelming sense of community on the day.  It was a great opportunity for those living with Parkinson's to come together with family and friends and the broader community to enjoy some physical activity together in the sun.  Suzanne Orr MLA , Minister for Disability and Minister for Community Services and Facilities in the ACT Government very kindly opened the Walk .  She later said  how impressed she was with the community support the day received and congratulated PACT on such a successful event.


This year’s entertainment included another high-quality creative dance performance by the Offbeats as well as the first public performance by our newly-formed singing group the Bushlarks.  Congratulations to both. The large crowd obviously enjoyed their performances very much.  There was delightful and energetic dancing from the young Elite Dancers - this studio is run by Jen Harkness’s daughter, Amy Peacock.  Jen as you would know has young onset Parkinson’s and with others on the subcommittee spent a lot of time and energy promoting this event and raising awareness in the public arena. There was also rock and roll and soul music from the Loose Connections band and a guest appearance from Australian singer-songwriter Hayley Jensen who was a real crowd pleaser - Hayley’s uncle John also has Parkinson’s.  All the performances enhanced the wonderful community atmosphere with many people staying to enjoy the entertainment after finishing the fun run and walks.

Key to making this broader-based event such a success was the support of our community through sponsorship and engagement in the media. We wish to thank the following:

The Tall Foundation; the Capital Chemist Group; P-Squared Advisory; Monarch Building Solutions; Real Estate Institute ACT; Morgans Financial; Athlete's Foot; Curves Gym Belconnen; Rotary Belconnen; Ora Hair, Woden; Capital Chemist, Jolimont Centre; Yarralumla Pharmacy; Little Sprout, Phillip; JB Wright; JB Investments; the Finnish Embassy and their community group for the delicious Finnish donuts; Peter Seal and Loose Connections; Hayley Jensen, Richard Faulks; and Rotary Weston for fabulous snags!


For their media support we particularly thank Megan Doherty, Canberra Times, Canberra Weekly, RiotAct, 2CC, FM Radio, ABC Radio, and WIN News.


A big thank you also to Ina J Photography and Lee's Lens Photography for their coverage,  to Peter Karmel for a polished MC role and to the volunteers who supported participants around the course to ensure their safety and who helped as needed on stalls and registration. We need to acknowledge, too, the Visabel events team for their role in the planning and the operation on the day.  Together we achieved a well-managed and successful event.

Thank you to the stallholders who came out to show their support and to display what they have to offer those with Parkinson’s. If you didn’t get a chance to speak to them we urge you to look at what they have to offer.  The list follows this article.


Lastly, we would also like to thank you, the members of Parkinson’s ACT,  for your participation on the day and for the generous donations made or raised by you, your family and friends.  It has been particularly gratifying to see donations continue to arrive for some days after the Walk.


Thank you.

The Parkinson's ACT Committee