Lace up your walking shoes for Parkinson’s

The 17th Annual Parkinson SuperWalk takes place in Vernon at Polson Park on Sept. 8: who are you walking for?

Thousands of people across British Columbia can now register online to start raising funds for the 17th annual Parkinson SuperWalk which will take place in September.

On SuperWalk day, they will either walk for themselves, or for someone they know and love who is suffering with Parkinson’s disease. In Vernon, SuperWalk is scheduled for Sept. 8 at Polson Park; registration is at 10 a.m., and the walk starts at 10:30 a.m. Participants can register as an individual or a team by visiting  www.parkinson.bc.ca

Parkinson SuperWalk is the single most important national fundraising event of the year for Parkinson Societies in Canada. The goal is to raise more than $3 million nationally and $325,000 in BC.  Parkinson SuperWalk will take place in 90 communities across Canada, with 14 events being held in B.C. throughout September. If there is no organized walk in a specific community, supporters can still be involved by registering as a virtual walker.

Proceeds from SuperWalk go to research and support services provided by Parkinson Society British Columbia (PSBC). For families living with Parkinson’s disease, the walk represents not only the opportunity to raise funds for research, education and support; it also gives walkers the chance to meet other people who are living with the effects of this devastating condition.

For the past few years, Rhona Parsons of Excel Fitness in Vernon has been instrumental in helping the Parkinson’s community keep active with exercise classes called Antifreez. For those unfamiliar with the disease, one of the many side effects is to sometimes freeze up for a few seconds to a minute. Parsons hopes people will support SuperWalk and see that there is still life and hope after a diagnosis.

“I am walking for all of my clients affected by Parkinson’s,” she said.

Parkinson’s is the second most common degenerative neurological disorder after Alzheimer’s.  Parkinson’s is a cruel disease that affects not only the person with Parkinson’s but their entire family.  The symptoms are many and include tremor, rigidity, postural instability, difficulty talking, walking and swallowing, reduced facial expression, and in some cases, depression and dementia. It can strike anyone – women and men of all ages, ethnic backgrounds and lifestyles. There is currently no known cure.

Established in 1969, Parkinson Society British Columbia is a not-for-profit charitable organization that exists to address the personal and social consequences of Parkinson’s disease through education, community outreach, scientific research, advocacy and public awareness.

It is estimated that 11,000 British Columbians live with Parkinson’s and more than 100,000 in Canada. Research is ongoing around the world to determine the cause of the disease and ultimately find a cure.

In B.C, the Pacific Parkinson’s Research Centre at the University of British Columbia conducts the largest peer-reviewed Parkinson’s research program in Canada, under the direction of Dr. A. Jon Stoessl, an internationally renowned expert on Parkinson’s disease.