Laura’s support group — Laura is in the middle of the back row, wearing a grey sweater. (Submitted photo)

Laura’s support group — Laura is in the middle of the back row, wearing a grey sweater. (Submitted photo)

Vernon woman living with Parkinson’s disease organizes SuperWalk

Vernon’s Parkinson SuperWalk takes place Saturday, Sept. 8 at 9:30 a.m. in Polson Park.

Laura Wilson is a true everyday hero.

Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2014, she has been considered an invaluable member of her local Parkinson’s community by giving back whenever possible.

Last year, the Morning Star published Wilson’s “love letter” to herself from her Parkinson’s. This year, she hopes to share her journey once more, with her new focus: organizing the local Parkinson SuperWalk in Vernon.

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Of her first SuperWalk experience, Laura says, “I was moved by the participants, and how the Vernon community came together with a common goal, to find a cure.”

This September, over 20 communities across British Columbia will be gathering to support Canadians living with Parkinson’s disease at Parkinson SuperWalk. For over 25 years, this event has helped generate awareness and raise funds for Parkinson Society British Columbia’s (PSBC) programs, support services, advocacy efforts and research contributions.

Vernon’s Parkinson SuperWalk to celebrate community heroes takes place Sept. 8 at 9:30 a.m. in Polson Park.

While the event has, for decades, served as the largest fundraising event for Parkinson’s across the country, it also helps solidify a powerful message for participants: that they are not alone in their journey with the disease.

“SuperWalk is about celebrating the achievements of the Parkinson’s community – no matter how big or small,” said Jean Blake, CEO of Parkinson Society British Columbia. “Additionally, the event provides the Society with the opportunity to share what we do with others. We believe in empowering people to make educated decisions about their health while taking steps towards living well.”

Though the walk represents many things to her, Laura said “the grandest meaning is hope. Hope in funding research. Hope in each other. Hope we’ll find a cure.”

Wilson is just one of over 13,000 British Columbians live with Parkinson’s — a disease for which there is no known cure. Symptoms include tremors and shaking, slow movements, muscle stiffness and problems with balance. Many also experience fatigue, difficulty with speech and writing, sleep disorders, depression and cognitive changes. The incidence of the disease is expected to double by 2040.

Related: Vernon woman says Parkinson’s disease is ‘cruel and unforgiving’

Related: Dad inspires Parkinson’s ride

Related: Costly Parkinson’s treatment to be covered for ‘small group’ of British Columbians

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