Warnborough College honoured Marie Ann Long with an Honoris Causa for her lifelong work, research and duty to Parkinson’s Disease and those who suffer from it on the 21st November 2015.
The event was held at the Springwood Sports Club in the Blue Mountains of Australia. Warnborough President, Dr Brenden Tempest-Mogg, presented the award to Marie. Local Member of Parliament, Trish Doyle, was on hand to lend her support and spoke about Marie’s active contribution to the local community.
The story of Marie’s involvement with Parkinson’s Disease began in 1991. A friend of Marie’s who worked as a TAFE lecture, Dr James Selby, was diagnosed with the disease. He decided to learn about it as much as he could but he found that information and research about Parkinson’s Disease (PD) in Australia was scarce.
He contacted other sufferers in the Central West of New South Wales and together they decided to form a research group. It was then that Dr Selby roped Marie in to help with the research and her story grew from there.
Marie dedicated a lot of her time to PD research and support. She is currently the Secretary of the Blue Mountains Parkinson’s Support Group and a volunteer with the Blue Mountains Palliative Support Service.
With over 30 years of work under her belt, Marie has proven herself to be highly knowledgeable about the disease. She has become instrumental as one of the leading lights in the Australian fight against Parkinson’s Disease, voluntarily dedicating her time and energy to helping sufferers, researchers and academics to find solutions. She has had to learn skills to deal with grief and loss; computer-based work; and managing volunteers. She has had to build skills in areas as diverse as the social sciences, community welfare, nursing, human resources and service coordination.
She was nominated for this award by Drs James Selby, Simon Hammond and Ray Morland.
Dr Ray Morland said “This is the culmination of a long history of work dedicated to the Parkinson’s groups. It’s volunteers like Marie that keep these groups going, and it is what people with Parkinson’s need. It’s good to see that people like Marie are prepared to do the work and become leaders of the field. I hope that the work that Marie has done is continued and becomes a legacy.”
Warnborough College has been involved with supporting research into PD for quite a few years now. In September 2004, Constantine Diamond and James Slattery were honoured with Honoris Causa awards for their lifelong work and research into Parkinson’s. The event was held in Parkes, New South Wales, with support from the then Mayor, Councillor Robert Wilson, OAM.
Cr Wilson was subsequently honoured in the 2007 Warnborough convocation in Canterbury, when his Honoris Causa was bequeathed upon him by Trixie, Baroness Gardner of Parkes. Cr Wilson was not only a strong advocate for PD support, he dedicated a lot of resources towards PD research.
A full PhD scholarship was offered by the Warnborough Council to Ian Cooper to do an extensive study into PD in Australia, with comparative studies of other countries. He was mentored by Dr James Selby and renowned PD neurologist, Dr Simon Hammond. In December 2009, Dr Cooper formally presented the fruits of his research before the City of Parkes to critical and personal acclaim.
It was in 2009 that Marie Long was nominated as the next recipient of an honour. Six years later and four publications later, we are delighted that Marie has continued the legacy set by so many outstanding leaders before her. We continue to work with the PD communities to enhance research in the area.