Mildura Parkinson’s advocate takes this year’s Sir Zelman Cowen award
Mildura resident Cheryl Barnes has been awarded the Sir Zelman Cowen Award at Parkinson’s Victoria’s Annual General Meeting last Monday. The organisation’s highest honour, the Sir Zelman Cowen Award is presented to an individual in recognition of their invaluable voluntary contribution to the Parkinson’s community.
Cheryl’s commitment to the local Parkinson’s community has been exceptional for many years. A leader known for her strong engagement and representation in her peer group and powerful advocacy both locally and across Victoria, Cheryl continues to identify opportunities to improve services and support access for people with Parkinson’s. She has led Mildura Parkinson’s Support group for more than a decade.
Cheryl is an active advocate to local politicians and it was her successful campaigning that delivered a federally funded Movement Disorder Nurse in Mildura more than four years ago.
Committed to raising awareness of the condition, Cheryl has hosted a “Slow Walk” in support Parkinson’s flagship fundraising event A Walk in the Park walks since its inception. An active fundraiser and event organiser, she has held art and fashion shows, high teas and community health events so that more people with Parkinson’s can access to the health support they need.
Cheryl has also been active in the media for many years, raising local awareness and supporting Parkinson’s Victoria efforts to raise the profile of the condition.
Cheryl was thrilled to receive the award.
“I was quite overcome when I was first informed about it”, she said. “You don’t do this for the accolades, you do it to help out and hopefully it’s therapeutic for yourself too”.
Cheryl is clearly highly motivated to assist those with Parkinson’s in the region.
“You’ve got to speak up or get pushed under the carpet”, she said. “There’s so much to do to help out – from supporting those with Parkinson’s to lobbying the local politicians.”
“Thankfully everyone here in Mildura is very supportive”.
Cheryl has previously received a five year service award (2012), a Community Recognition Award (2015) and a 10 year service award (2016) from Parkinson’s Victoria.
“Cheryl is a truly worthy recipient of the Sir Zelman Cowen Award,” said Emma Collin, Chief Executive Officer of Parkinson’s Victoria. “Her work across all of advocacy, community engagement and promotion of Parkinson’s has been second to none.”
Cheryl is pictured with Lady Anna Cowen and Parkinson's Victoria Chair Associate Professor David Finkelstein.