Legends of the Nepean: Vivienne Ross

Wedding photo 1991.

Vivienne Ross is the Group Leader of the Nepean Blue Mountain Parkinson’s Support Group (NBMPSC) and has been a member of the group since her husband Barry was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) in 2006.

Since taking on the Group Leader’s role in 2011, Vivienne has been heavily involved in both the day to day and long-term activities of the group, which includes monthly meetings, 2 dance classes per month, 1 singalong per month, 1 formal meeting, 1 carer’s lunch, special outings (Nepean Belle, etc), attending a dance show at Wentworth Falls, working with Community Heroes and weekly informal coffee meetings at the Nepean Rowing Club.

At inception, the group originally met at the Lawson Baptist Church, then moved to Lewin Lodge in Springwood, before settling in their current location within the Penrith RSL Club.

Vivienne was born in Sydney and attended Nazareth College in Bankstown, before taking on a career as a Receptionist with a Radiologist, with whom she would work over the ensuing 29 years, over many office locations.

Barry started his own trucking business at the age of 30 and would work in the industry until aged 52, when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

Family Group.  Photos supplied.

Vivienne has since absorbed a wealth of knowledge on Parkinson’s Disease over the past 17 years and, sadly, reports the disease is increasing at a faster rate than the population growth.

“Barry and I are both on the Parkinson’s NSW Education Advisory Committee, which is formulating an online education resource for GPs, Allied Health Practitioners, and people living with Parkinsons,” said Vivienne.

“I have done several Parkinson’s Information presentations in the local community, eg, the Penrith Arthritis Group, the Emu Plains Probus Club and the Emu Plains Health Seminar. I am always willing to accept invitations from any group interested in learning more about Parkinson’s Disease.

“In 2022, we were also invited to join the Nepean Hospital Redevelopment Committee, as consumers, to evaluate and recommend consumer/patient initiatives, to ensure the redevelopment of the hospital meets the needs of the local population at the completion of the project.

Legend nominator Cheryl Devine said “Viv’s major role within the support group is to bring awareness of Parkinson’s to the community at large, including those with Parkinson’s, their Carers and those who provide services, including Government bodies.

“Vivienne ensures the Support Group gives members a chance to meet new people, which helps to break down any feelings of isolation associated with Parkinson’s.

“Vivienne is one of some 70 Supports Groups leaders throughout NSW. It is estimated that around 1 in 300 will be affected by PD, so that means there are a possible 600 people in the Penrith area. It is through Support Groups Leaders, like Vivienne, those diagnosed with PD will have a better quality of life.

“Vivienne has received a Seniors Citizenship Award from the State Government for this work and was also awarded a Community Service Award by Penrith City Council, for her work in spreading the word about Parkinson’s Disease.

Vivienne works closely with Parkinson’s NSW for information and resources and has done all of this recently whilst she struggled with cancer herself.

Parkinson’s NSW: “We are a for purpose organisation, striving to make life better for people living with Parkinson’s, their families and carers. We provide essential services and programs, including: counselling services, a network of support groups across the state, a HealthLine service staffed by Registered Parkinson’s Nurses and have Parkinson’s Nurse specialists placed in regional areas of NSW, along with evidence-based education and information programs.

To find out how we can assist you or someone you care for, contact our InfoLine 1800 644 189.

Vivienne & Barry.

Vivienne Ross was nominated as a Legend of the Nepean by Cheryl Devine.
If you know a local legend, send us a nomination at nepeannews@aol.com