Senator John Wacka Williams uses diagnosis to warn others

SENATOR John Wacka Williams has bravely taken his private battle public in the hope of helping others. 

The 62-year-old shearer-senator must be applauded for publicly announcing his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease on Friday night.

He kept it private, away from the public eye, for 12 months, but it took another Inverell man suffering from the same incurable disease to take his diagnosis public. 

Outspoken and straight-shooting, Senator Williams has never shied away from fighting for what he believes in since his election in 2007.

We only need to look so far as him using his parliamentary position to crusade against dodgy financiers, bankers, businessmen and the big end of town.

Among his targets have been supermarket giants Coles and Woolies, the corporate regular, ASIC, and perhaps most notably the Commonwealth Bank.

Now, Sentator Williams faces another hearty battle.

He had people asking him and his family what the matter was, so he made the decision to reveal the diagnosis.

During the announcement, he detailed he had experienced back pains and coordination issues with his left leg, which first alerted his Inverell GP to his condition.

He said he knew the extent of his condition as early as July last year, but said his doctor assured him his work would not be affected.

Like most, it was something he did not want, did not ask for and, sadly, something he could not avoid. 

But instead of sitting back any longer – and without asking for sympathy – he is using his profile to encourage other men to see their doctor if they encountered health problems.

He warned that the disease affects everyone differently, so signs should not be ignored. 

"The thing is, it affects people in such a varying way,” he said. 

“This is important. It is very varying the way people are affected by it, and hopefully, in time, I am one of those people who it doesn't have a big effect on me.”

Senator Williams will finish his term and remain at his Inverell property, Rob Roy, for as long as he can.

Through sharing his story, the senator has helped shine a light on the debilitating disease.

The more awareness out there, the better.

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