PROMINENT local motor neurone disease fighters Barb Phillippi and John Parker were remembered at the Warragul Walk to D-Feet MND today.
Above: the balloon release. Photos by William PJ Kulich.
Hundreds turned out to the event which Ms Phillippi established and drove to raise funds to find a cure for motor neurone disease. MND describes a group of diseases which cause muscles involved with movement, speech, breathing and swallowing to fail.
“Barb passed away earlier this week so this walk is really special to a lot of us who were involved,” organiser Jane Griffiths told the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.
“It’s to raise money and awareness about the people who maybe are living in the community with it and the support services, and [to] help raise some money to support people who are living with it.
“Barb wanted to do this. She knew she couldn’t be cured… but she wanted to try to get some money for research into the future.”
Mr Parker, also a well-known and loved volunteer, died yesterday after also fighting a brain tumour.
“It’s a poignant time today for her supporters and family, but fabulous to see so much support,” MND Victoria acting CEO Julie McConnell told those gathered for the walk at Burke Street Park.
“It’s around us all the time but it’s not something we can stop the fight against.
“These occasions are fantastic to raise much-needed funds to ensure we can provide care for the approximately 400 people living in Victoria at the moment with motor neurone disease.
“It’s really awesome to look around and see everybody here together as a community to support one another and the people who are living with motor neurone disease today.”
Event MC Paul Eacott also touched on the significance of this year’s event.
“I think it’s an opportunity for us as a group of individuals and friends to try and remember this day and in following years meet again and raise some money to try to cure this horrible disease,” he said.
A balloon release, requested by Ms Phillippi during planning, took place before the walk started. Hundreds of blue and white balloons were released from between the park’s trees.
While only around two in every 100,000 Australians are diagnosed with MND every year, organiser Sharyn Purcell said “most people know someone who has been affected by it.
“I think everyone who’s here either knows somebody or has a connections somewhere, and Barb was well known,” she added.
The three kilometre walk saw participants follow the Burke Street Park walking tracks almost in their entirety.
You can find out more about MND at the MND Victoria website, mnd.asn.au.
More photos from the event below. Click on any photo to see a larger version.
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