ABOUT MY DAD, Bruce
My Dad is super. He’s dad to Michael, Kate and me, gorgeous grandfather to five – Lucas, Jack, Sonny, Pippa and Zoe – and devoted husband to mum, Virginia. He loves being with his family and seeing us all happy and healthy and doing our thing.
Dad was always very active and loved to sail, play cricket and tennis, fly fish and take the family camping around NSW when we were younger. Since he and mum took the family to England for a year back in 1979, (a life changing experience for him having never been overseas until that point), Dad has always loved to travel and instilled in us kids a sense of adventure and love of travel. Over the years, his ability to remain active has been cruelly affected but he remains positive and does what he can with the incredible strength and support from mum, family and a wonderful circle of very good friends.
Now 74 years old, Dad has lived with Parkinson’s for almost 24 years. It has been a slow progression but Dad is a brave man who gives inspiration to us all with this tough gig he has been handed. He underwent deep brain stimulation surgery several years ago which gave him a new lease on life (and made me see the wonders of modern medicine up close!). But even with the incredible advances in technology, PD remains progressive. Now Dad experiences slowness of movement and sometimes cannot move at all, he loses his balance and falls, and some days he has difficulty speaking. Although Parkinson’s affects every person differently, these are very common symptoms that people living with Parkinson’s have to deal with on a daily basis.
Like all of us, Dad would love to see a world without Parkinson’s and he will be giving me great strength barracking from the sidelines as I make my way across the country.
After leaving Sydney and moving to Melbourne in my mid-20s to hang out at Melbourne uni for a few years, I was given a second-hand road bike by a friend of a friend. In Melbourne, a city made for bikes with its wide streets and ample bike lanes, I fell in love with the freedom of a bike and was soon spinning in and around the city. Since then, I have always sought out new cycling experiences, from the 200km Round the Bay in Melbourne, to cycling in Myanmar and more recently round the river, coastal and country roads in and around Perth. While on a recent six month work trip to London, I had the use of a Brompton fold-up bike and loved riding it to work every day through the gorgeous London parks and chaotic small lanes and byways, despite the odd rough encounter with the back end of a double-decker. From handlebar level you’re a part of the landscape. You see how people live their lives and you move at a slower pace. The bike allows you to take it all in.
I’ve travelled the world and criss-crossed Australia too many times to remember but I’ve only ever seen the Nullarbor from a plane. That’s all about to change. And while I have always enjoyed sitting in the saddle, I’ve never done anything quite like this. But I’m up for the challenge. So, with my ticket of leave to swap my art curator’s hat for a crash helmet, here I go!