Sisters need no reason to run for dad

Last year, the Wolany family’s world was turned upside down. Rick, former owner of Werribee’s Toyota dealership on Watton Street, was diagnosed with a rare neurological condition called Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP).

PSP is an atypical Parkinsonism that affects parts of the brain that control eye movements, balance, speech and swallowing. About 1300 Australians are battling the degenerative illness, which gradually steals sufferers’ sight and speech and affects their motor functions.

As PSP symptoms mimic Parkinson’s disease, it is often misdiagnosed. But, unlike Parkinsons, it doesn’t respond to medication. There is no known treatment or cure.

Mr Wolany’s daughters, Bree and Samantha, will run the Melbourne Marathon in October to raise money and awareness.

They want to raise $25,000 for Parkinson’s Victoria to contribute towards a $60,000 fellowship to increase the number of scientists studying PSP. Bree said that she and her sister want to do all they can to ensure that PSP is correctly diagnosed in the future.

“Because it is so rare, people don’t know a lot about it … there is a lot of awareness of Parkinson’s but not for this condition.”

Bree and Samantha recently began training for the marathon after initially deciding to run only the half-marathon.

With Bree living in Brighton and Samantha based in Dubai, they have been motivating each other to train via social media.

“This was just a small idea that became massive. It just snowballed,” Bree said. “It is a way for us to bond as well while helping dad.”

The sisters are hoping Wyndham residents will join their PSP marathon team.

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