Shaking hands and muscle stiffness have affected Fred Van Ross every day for nearly 20 years.

The 73-year-old Truganina resident has lived with Parkinson’s disease since 2003 and has dedicated years to learning more about the illness so he could help others.

“I was treated for a tennis elbow tremor at 57 and had no idea what Parkinson’s was,”
Mr Van Ross said.

“When I was diagnosed, I went to the internet, but it was not helpful enough – I wanted to know more.”

Mr Van Ross said he came to terms with his disease when he joined a support group and has since become an ambassador for Parkinson’s Victoria.

“I accepted my condition as being something that I did not want, but I had to learn to live with,” he said.

“I have Parkinson’s, but it doesn’t have me.

“I have total support from my wife and family who understand the day-to-day issues that arise.”

Mr Van Ross is among thousands of Victorian’s living with Parkinson’s who can access a new therapy, Xadago, covered under the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme from this month.

Royal Melbourne Hospital movement disorders director Andrew Evans welcomed the addition of a new oral therapy.

“We still have a long way to go in understanding what causes Parkinson’s disease and how to improve the management of symptoms, but with the availability of additional treatments to add on to the main drug therapy, Levodopa – it does mean we have more options to help patients,” Dr Evans said.