Mark's Story

Pedal to Fight Parkinson's is inspired by Mark Mickan, former SANFL & AFL star and West Adelaide premiership coach, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's at age 55.

Mark Mickan is a South Australian football legend. His stellar career saw him play for SANFL and AFL teams, win the inaugural Adelaide Crows club championship, and coach multiple SANFL teams, leading West Adelaide to a premiership in 2015.  But Mark's fight goes beyond the football field.

Mark's journey with Parkinson's begain 1984. His father, a gentle and hardworking man, received a life-altering diagnosis: Parkinson's Disease. Witnessing his father's courageous battle left a lasting imprint on Mark's life. Years later, when he found himself facing the same diagnosis, Mark drew strength from his father's example even as a sense of foreboding crept in.

Despite the family history, his own diagnosis in 2016 at the age of 55 still came as a shock. The tremors, stiffness, fatigue and accompanying depression were a stark contrast to the peak fitness Mark maintained throughout his sporting career.

"I just wanted it all to go away," Mark admits. But Mark's instinct to retreat and protect his privacy couldn't last forever. The inner turmoil grew until he reached a turning point:  "I realised keeping this a secret wasn't fair—not to myself, and certainly not to the Parkinson's community."

Empowered by this realisation, Mark decided to share his story publicly. Speaking openly about Parkinson's lifted a significant weight, allowing him to turn his personal challenge into a force for good. "If I can use whatever platform I have to raise awareness and give others hope, that's where I need to be."

Mark's fight against Parkinson's isn't just about his own journey. He tirelessly advocates for research and support, drawing strength from others battling the disease, like Neale Daniher, whose fight with MND serves as a constant inspiration.

Determined to fight back and explore every treatment option, Mark researched and elected to undergo an innovative form of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery in 2019. This life-changing procedure helped control the debilitating tremors, giving him back a degree of control over his body, restoring his energy and spark.

However, Mark's battle is ongoing. He tackles Parkinson's with a powerful combination of medication and dedicated exercise at the Brain and Body Fitness Studio – a testament to the vital role that physical activity plays in managing the disease.

Inspired by his own experience, Mark has become a tireless advocate for the Parkinson's community. He openly shares his story, raising awareness and inspiring others living with the condition.  His journey demonstrates the incredible resilience of the human spirit.

Mark Mickan is proof that even in the face of immense challenges, it's possible to keep fighting, inspiring, and championing the needs of others.

Join Mark in the fight against Parkinson’s. Gather your team and take on the Pedal to Fight Parkinson’s 24hr challenge! Register Now.

Where the money goes

The Pedal to Fight Parkinson’s is an event proudly supported by The Hospital Research Foundation (THRF) Group – Parkinson’s who support people living with Parkinson’s, from recently diagnosed through to advanced Parkinson’s, along with family, carers and health professionals.

The Hospital Research Foundation Group – Parkinson’s provides allied health services (occupational therapy, counselling) nurse care, peer support groups, social activities, evidence-backed exercise programs, education and life-changing research to help people manage their condition and live well with Parkinson’s.

100% of money raised by teams goes directly towards progressing life-changing research and services to maximise choice, independence, mental health and wellbeing for our friends and family living with Parkinson’s.


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If I can use whatever platform I have to raise awareness and give others hope, that's where I need to be."

- Mark Mickan. Living with Parkinson's