A note from the President for 2014

Hello, my name is Gregg Faulkner.Gregg Faulkner photo

Allow me to begin by expressing my pleasure at being elected to the position of President of the Port Macquarie Parkinson's Support Group. I am honoured, and I hope I can contribute to the ongoing growth and strength of this group.

I have large shoes to fill. I wish to take this opportunity to express my admiration for the tireless work my predecessor, Stuart Snowden, put into his time as President. Through some significant personal challenges he continued to devote himself to our group and we are grateful.

I am not another Stuart. I possess neither his diplomacy nor his quiet and unassuming manner, but I shall try to be guided by his genuine concern for the wellbeing of the group and all members. I've been known to be politically incorrect and to call a spade a lot of rude things, but I have a very strong sense of social justice and I'm happy to fight for things I believe.

One of the things I firmly believe is that life is too short to be taken too seriously. Laughter is absolutely the best medicine and sacred cows make great barbeques. So, when you inevitably hear me talking about "Parko's" or "Shakies", please don't be offended. It's a lot quicker and easier than the oh, so politically correct "Persons living with Parkinson's Disease", and no disrespect is intended.

Inevitably my personality and priorities will influence the direction and "flavour" of the Group. While I see little that needs "fixing" - the Group is strong and energetic - I would like to add a couple of initiatives to our program for 2013/2014.

I am aware that there are a number of people in the Wauchope region who find travel to Port for our meetings difficult. Already Jenny Wall is working on a plan to provide a "shuttle-bus" service to help these people to attend. I am keen to progress this initiative and to explore the concept for other location-impacted potential participants.

My next priority is to expand our membership - by expanding our relevance. I am aware that there are about 100 people who attend or are members of our Group. I am also aware that there are more than 400 people with Parkinson's in this region (not counting their partners and carers) who DO NOT attend or belong to our Group, for whatever reason. I want to explore ways to attract these people to our Group, for our benefit and their own.

Finally, I want to expand on the things that we are already doing well. Our Group is friendly, supportive and welcoming to newcomers. I'm sure we can do even better. We provide a lot of support and services to our members. I'm sure we can find ways to serve the needs of our members even better, and to evolve over time to be a model Group in the Parkinson's NSW / Australia family.

We have a strong membership body, a talented and dedicated Executive and I shall endeavour to prove myself an energetic and devoted President. As a Group, we can look forward to a bright future.

It's a good time to be a "Parko". With the massive efforts being devoted in Australia and internationally toward finding a cure or, at least, greatly improved management for our condition, we can look forward to equally bright individual futures.

Best regards,

Gregg Faulkner