John is a man on a mission

John Labram has been in heavy training for his 140-kilometre ride.Picture: TARA GOONAN
John Labram has been in heavy training for his 140-kilometre ride.Picture: TARA GOONAN

A YACKANDANDAH man who has Parkinson’s disease will ride 140 kilometres tomorrow to highlight the condition.

John Labram will ride from Darnum in West Gippsland to Melbourne’s Federation Square with two other cyclists.

They expect to reach the square at 10.30am, before an annual Walk in the Park fund-raiser event starts.

Mr Labram was diagnosed with the illness in 2011, when he was 43.

“We want to remind people that you don’t have to be old to get Parkinson’s,” he said.

With his ride, Mr Labram hopes to on the top-10 list of donors for Parkinson’s research.

The idea for the bike ride challenge was brewed over a cup or two of coffee when Mr Labram tossed around ideas on how to raise awareness with fellow early onset sufferers Geoff Pearson and Jennifer Bodenhamer.

Mr Pearson, who grew up on a farm at Darnum, agreed to be the ride organiser.

He said while Parkinson’s affected all sufferers in the same way, younger victims often had to juggle work, home duties and childcare while managing their illness.

About 27,000 Australians have the disease, with six people diagnosed every day.

Parkinson’s Victoria provides information on symptom management and strategies to help improve the quality of sufferers’ life.

A key aim of the organisation is to provide nurses who can give hands-on help in communities across the state.

By taking simply treatment to sufferers, the association says, prevents sufferers having to go to hospital for minor complaints.

One preventable side effect was constipation, which is now the No. 1 reason why Parkinson’s patients were admitted.

Britain has 300 Parkinson’s nurses, while Victoria, which is similar in size, has only three.

Those wishing to donate to the walk, or sponsor an individual contestant and visit