By Lauren Hermon
Port Lincoln’s Natasha Clark believes “what goes around will eventually come around”.
In fact, she does anything she can to “help out” her community.
“Everyone knows each other in small rural towns; we can relate to each other,” she says.Just one of many things Natasha has recently done to “give back” is helping local Rodney McCallum, who lives with Multiple Sclerosis, buy a wheelchair accessible vehicle.
In less than a week, $13,540 was raised via a Go Fund Me page set up by Natasha and Rodney’s cousin, Janet Shepherd.
“The response was amazing. We set a goal to raise $10,000, and within three or four days, we smashed it,” Natasha says.
Rodney was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis in 2011. He went from being a fully independent farmer to being confined to a wheelchair within five years.
Since, Rodney’s condition has progressed quickly, having lost the use of his legs and he is now experiencing some loss of movement in his left hand. This means family and friends are required to drive Rodney to appointments.
He has now moved into a nursing home full time to be cared for at the age of 50.Natasha’s reason for supporting Rodney is personal after she was diagnosed with younger onset Parkinson’s disease at 36.
Rather than give up, the now 43-year-old has since raised thousands of dollars on the Eyre Peninsula for Parkinson’s and other motor neurone diseases, like Rodney’s.
“In a rural community, not many people are able to relate to certain diseases like this, that’s why raising awareness in hope for that cure is important,” says Natasha, who had deep brain stimulation treatment in January.Natasha has also been shown support from the community.
More than a couple of years ago an auction night was held where more than 100 people raised over $10,000.
All of the funds raised went to research to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease through the Shake It Up Foundation.
Natasha has now organised a neurologist to visit Port Lincoln to educate the community on the degenerative disease next Friday (August 12).
“The more people who are educated and understand motor neurone diseases the better… we’re a tight knit community who stick by each other when the tough gets going,” she says.
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