John Gibson & Jane Barnes

"Our journey to the Woolcock Institute highlights the key quality of Woolcock function; their multidisciplinary approach and connections.

My husband, John has Parkinson’s disease, the research side of which has benefitted by the superstar Michael Fox becoming a sufferer; who, instead of saying ‘woe is me’, decided to use his status (and money) to set up and manage the very wealthy Fox Foundation for research into Parkinson’s disease. No doubt like other Fox groupies, one day I googled his website, which eventually lead us to enrolling in research studies in Australia. After registering my husband for a study, I was also asked to register myself (a non-Parkinson’s sufferer) because it is often just as difficult for researchers to recruit controls for research projects as it is subjects. This was great as my husband and I could help researchers together.

So we fronted up to our first study session where we were willingly questioned and tested in the name of science, to be delighted at the end of the session as we received individual feedback. John had reported his sleeping issues, which we had been struggling with for over five years. Not only had it been duly noted but it earned us an immediate referral to the Woolcock Institute.

After the obligatory sleep study, we found that John almost broke the record with over 63 apnoeas per hour. How had he been functioning at any level? We were well and truly Woolcock candidates!

As we experimented with CPAP machines, masks and practical advice, we quickly became impressed by the clinical expertise of the Woolcock. Gradually we learned more about the Woolcock team and philosophy, so we soon realised how much we were benefitting from the tight multidisciplinary clinical and research relationships found within the Woolcock walls.

Now John experiences quality sleep hours and we are privileged to support in our small way the Woolcock teams who have made a huge difference to our lives!"