New carers award honours long-standing Geelong PSG leader
Dec. 04, 2019
The long-standing contribution of retiring leader of the Geelong Parkinson’s Peer Support Group has been recognised with the creation of a new award in his name – the Harold Waldron Carer’s Award.
The announcement was made at the recent Parkinson’s Victoria Annual General meeting.
“Harold has been supporting the Parkinson’s community for more than 38 years, 31 of them as Geelong PSG leader, and has received every honour we are able to award,” said Parkinson’s Victoria CEO Emma Collin.
This included the Sir Zelman Cowen Award in 2008, Parkinson’s Victoria’s highest honour to acknowledge an individual for their outstanding service to people living with Parkinson’s.
The Harold Waldron Carer Award will recognise a family member or friend who has been touched by Parkinson’s and made a significant difference to the Parkinson’s Community, through their voluntary leadership or support of a PSG leader.
“Harold’s dedication and care for others is an example and inspiration to us all – and we know Harold’s legacy will remain with us through this award,” Emma said.
Harold, who recently turned 91, said he was initially overwhelmed by the honour, but then accepted that he had been connected with Parkinson’s for a long time.
Harold was a local builder, who became a carer for his wife Margaret after she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Both were present at the very first Geelong PSG meeting in 1978 and Harold became leader in 1981.
But what is so extraordinary about his involvement is that it continued long after Margaret passed away in 1999.
“I am very, very thankful that I have been able to help so many people,” Harold said, adding he also got a lot out helping people living with Parkinson’s and their carer’s.
“It gives you a nice feeling when you get a recently diagnosed person ring up and you spend sometimes 15, 20 minutes on the phone with them, trying to convince them that they can still carry on with their life for a long time.
“I also tell them that although they’ve got Parkinsons, they don’t necessarily need our support group yet, but that they are more than welcome any time they want to come along,” he said.
Harold is also aware of the support carers need and continues to welcome them as group members after their partners have passed away.
“I get a grant every year from Carers Victoria to pamper my carers and I always take them out for lunch and it’s amazing how much they appreciate it,” Harold said.
It is obviously a formula that works as the Geelong Peer Support Group is Victoria’s longest running Peer Support Group and will continue under new leadership now Harold officially retired this month.
The inaugural recipient of the Harold Waldron Carer’s Award will be announced at the 2020 Parkinson’s Victoria AGM.
Learn more about other 2019 Parkinson's Victoria Award recipients.