“Shaky Team” cyclists gear up for University’s Parkinson’s campaign

24th May 2021

Some of Scotland’s most prominent Parkinson’s Disease campaigners and supporters are to cycle hundreds of miles for a University of Dundee fundraising campaign.

Members of the “Shaky Team” will be getting on their bikes to cycle 30 kilometres every third day throughout June for the University’s 30 Days Challenge, raising funds for Parkinson's research at the University.

Three of the team members - Marc van Grieken, Brendan Hawdon and Janet Kerr - were diagnosed with the condition between 2005 and 2019 and are among the cyclists that will undertake the 330km minimum (200miles) on a combination of static indoor training bikes, e-mountain bikes and out on the open road.

Marc says that he hopes his commitment will mirror that of the researchers at the University who work to find new therapies and treatments for the illness.

He said, “Since my diagnosis, I have gotten to know the team at the University’s Medical Research Centre Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC-PPU) and have always been overwhelmed by their commitment to researching this disease.

“The commitment, determination and drive of the research team and their belief that science will help to arrest, or even cure Parkinson’s is hugely encouraging and that is why I want to play my part in fundraising to support their work.

“Parkinson’s is a relentless, continually progressing illness, but we are not a silent minority, we will make ourselves heard.”

Parkinson’s disease is a disabling neurodegenerative illness which has no cure and no way of being slowed down. The most successful drug to manage Parkinson’s – Levodopa - was developed 60 years ago, but since then there has been no major breakthrough in the management or treatment of the disease.

Every week, 30 people in Scotland are diagnosed with Parkinson’s, which is why the University has launched its 30 Days Challenge. Taking place from June 1, people are asked to do something tiring, inspiring, relaxing, funny, or unique on each of the 30 days in June, to raise at least £120 for the Dundee Parkinson’s Research Campaign.

The University of Dundee is a leading centre for Parkinson’s research, hosting world-renowned experts who are dedicated to improving our understanding of the condition. Their efforts are backed by the Dundee Parkinson’s Research Campaign, which was launched in 2019 to establish Dundee as the global centre for Parkinson’s research.

Since 2017, the Shaky Team has continued raising funds including running the Glasgow 10k in 2019, with its 26 members including Dundee Parkinson’s researchers Professor Dario Alessi and Dr Esther Sammler.

“As a community, people living with Parkinson’s need to be louder,” added Marc.

“We need to be demanding more attention. Campaigns such as the University’s helps to shine a light on Parkinson’s disease and the impact that it has on so many lives.

“The researchers at Dundee live for finding a cure. I believe that with increased and most of all collective effort, thinking globally and acting locally we have a chance to sort out this disease and stop it wrecking lives.”

To sign up to the 30 Days Challenge for Parkinson’s, please visit the dedicated webpage. Anybody wishing to learn more about the Challenge, or to donate, can do so via the event’s JustGiving page.

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