WHEN Victor McConvey, one of Australia’s most experienced and knowledgeable authorities on Parkinson’s Disease, visits Portland Library for a talk on Tuesday, there will be some in the audience whose questions will have a special urgency.
They’re the carers and the people who have to cope with the debilitating illness every hour, every day of their lives.
It was 14 years ago when Iris Andrews’ friends noticed she seemed to have a slight tremor in her face and hands. Then 64, Mrs Andrews went to a doctor who, somewhat unusually, checked the back of her head. Afterwards came the bad news – she had Parkinson’s.
Well-known throughout Portland for the beauty and quality of the wedding dresses she made for many dozens of local brides and their attendants, Mrs Andrews had been a milliner by trade before taking up dressmaking. Confronted with such a dramatic diagnosis, others might have given up all creative pursuits. Not Iris Andrews.
“I did slow down my dress-making, but I replaced that by designing and sewing evening bags, which I placed in a Geelong shop for sale,” she said. “I also took up painting and for several years we had a Parkinson’s artist’s group in Portland. I painted 47 canvases but the group is no longer active, since several of the members have passed away.”
Read the full story in Friday’s Portland Observer.