Parkinson’s disease is one of the most common brain conditions in Australia, with somewhere between 25 and 30 people being diagnosed every day. And yet, this condition which now affects around 80,000 Australians, still has scientists and doctors stumped as to its causes. 

Clyde Campbell is a successful businessman who grew up in the Northern Rivers and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 44. In 2011 he established the Shake it Up Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation which aims to accelerate research and find a cure. This month he chatted with us about his journey and work of the Shake It Up Foundation.

1. Where are you from originally and what is your connection to Lennox Head?

I grew up in Lismore where my parents still live and I had always holidayed in Lennox. My brother Greg and I have always been in business partnership together and we run several local businesses. Greg takes care of the Lennox side and I focus on our business Machinery Automation & Robotics in Sydney

2. What is your job, and can you explain your business briefly for the laypeople among us?

I started my career doing an electrical apprenticeship in Lismore. In 1987 I started my own electrical business which gradually evolved from more electrical based work to automation and robotics projects. We now provide the latest world-leading technology and turnkey automation and robotics solutions to industrial clients. The business now has offices in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne and employs 70 staff. My position is CEO.

3. What symptom of Parkinson’s did you first notice and where were you when it first happened?

It was a tremor in my left hand. I actually got up to speak at a company planning day. I had papers in one hand and they started to shake.

4. Can you describe your initial reaction?

It was two shocks, first that I had Parkinson’s and second that there was no cure — at this time. My choice from there was either to be Clyde with Parkinson’s or Clyde that does something about Parkinson’s.

5. Can you describe your symptoms – which is the most difficult in terms of day-to-day living?

I have a constant tremor mainly on the left hand side.

6. If you could put it in a nutshell, how would you describe your life philosophy; the approach you take to help you deal with the cards you have been dealt?

Enjoy the present, design the future and have plenty of fun along the way

7. Tell us a bit about the Shake it Up Foundation. What is its main objective?

Shake It Up Foundation Australia has one aim: to find a cure for Parkinson’s. The foundation raises funds for Parkinson’s research through our supporters and community fundraising arm Team Fox Australia. The foundation has a partnership with The Michael J. Fox Foundation who processes all our grant applications through their research model. All funding raised stays in Australia but by using MJFF to process our grant applications we are ensuring that the grants are all globally competitive and can make a real difference to achieving our goal. One hundred percent of the money raised goes to Parkinson’s research and we cover the general administration expenses of the foundation.

Our Board consists of myself and Greg along with other Lennox Businessman Noel Holmes and Andy Mulcahy who have been instrumental in helping to guide the direction and success of the foundation.

8. How can the people of Lennox Head help?

The community support received from Lennox has been fantastic. They can continue to support us by attending our events; fundraising through Team Fox Australia, making a donation and helping us spread the word. Details are constantly updated on our website

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