Meet Sunny, a Bear-y Special Parkinson’s Ambassador

Sunny is Restoring Hope Parkinson’s Therapy Ambassabear…yes, you read that right.

What is an Ambassabear you ask? My role is to raise awareness and promote knowledge about Parkinson’s Disease.

Here is my first fact for you – did you know that over 18,500 Queenslanders live with Parkinson’s? How about that approximately! 18% of those diagnosed are of “working age” (under 65).  And did you know that the total economic cost of Parkinson’s was over $9.9 billion for the year 2014. This represents an increase of $3.2 billion since 2005, or 46%.  And we suspect, when more up to date figures are available, it will have increased even more!

It’s all too much for me to bear!

Last year I was “adopted” by a couple of Sunshine Coast residents who are living with Parkinson’s. Pauline was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2018. Her husband, Kevin, is her caregiver. Both are members of Parkinson’s Queensland Nambour and District Support Group, and Pauline has speech and swallowing therapy through Louise Williams at Restoring Hope Parkinson’s Therapy, a Registered Charity at Nambour.

Louise’s mother Lorraine makes handmade bespoke character bears for Louise to sell to raise funds for the Charity and Kevin asked her to make one for him to take on a fundraising hike he was doing – the Sunshine Coast 2022 Great Walk. As a result, I was “born” and soon became part of a group of 11 walkers who raised over $10,000 for Parkinson’s Queensland and Restoring Hope Parkinson’s Therapy by walking over 30 kilometres in two days. We even camped out overnight.

I kept them safe, but a couple in the group were hard to keep in line … especially the Member for Glass House!

I was so good at the job that, in September last year, I took Kevin down to Tasmania and did another walk along the Bay of Fires for Shake It Up Australia and this time we raised over $106,000 for a five day walk. My little legs were so tired after that one!

All of this is to say that I’ve been promoted and am now the HEAD bear for the Sunshine Coast Great Walk in April this year! Never mind the fact that I’m the only bear…

Our fundraising goal is $50,000 this time, which is why I’m here grizzling you to get on board and put your support behind our weary walking boots and paws.

I’ve done some bear-y quick maths and I believe that if every person on the Sunshine Coast donated just $0.15 we’d easily reach our target.  Imagine if they gave $2.00 (which is tax deductible)!  Imagine if they were joined by our friends in Noosa, Moreton Bay…all of Queensland!

Please help me in my role as a Parkinson’s Ambassabear – give generously and spread the word.