The Parkinson Super Walk is the single most important national awareness and fundraising event for the Parkinson Society of British Columbia.
On Sept. 10 – 11 and on the 17th, over 20 communities across British Columbia will walk while raising money for research and support services through individual pledges and corporate sponsorships.
According to the Parkinson Society of B.C., the goal is to attract over 2,400 walkers and to raise at least $440,000 in B.C.
Proceeds from the Super Walk will enable the society to invest in research and continue to provide essential programs and services to the 13,300 individuals and their families who live with Parkinson’s in B.C.
In Fort St. James, B.C., Sara Sam is determined to help make a difference.
As organizer of the event, Sam is excited to take part for a second year in a row.
“Last year was our first year and it was a success. We raised $2,600. We have 11 people in Fort St. James suffering with Parkinson’s. That’s a lot for such a small community,” Sam said.
“That’s why I felt I had to do my part.”
Parkinson Canada is the national voice of Canadians living with Parkinson’s disease. From diagnosis to discovery, they guide the way for Canadians to live well with Parkinson’s disease through education, advocacy and support services.
But what is Parkinson’s disease?
Symptoms include: tremors, slowness and stiffness, impaired balance, rigidity in the muscles, fatigue, soft speech, stooped posture, sleep disturbances and problems with handwriting.
According to the Parkinson Society of B.C., Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disease. Movement is normally controlled by dopamine, a chemical that carries signals between the nerves in the brain. When cells that normally produce dopamine die, the symptoms of Parkinson’s appear.
A diagnosis of Parkinson’s can take time. A family doctor might notice it first. You may be referred to a neurologist – a specialist who deals with Parkinson’s. There are no x-rays or tests to confirm Parkinson’s. So the neurologist will check your medical history, do a careful physical examination and certain tests, and rule out other conditions which may resemble Parkinson’s.
Currently there is no cure. You can live with Parkinson’s for years. The symptoms are treated with medication. Some people with Parkinson’s may benefit from surgery. The following therapies can also help manage the symptoms:
- Physical therapy helps mobility, flexibility and balance
- Occupational therapy helps with daily activities
- Speech therapy helps with voice control
- Exercise helps muscles and joints and improves overall health and well-being
Parkinson’s can progress at a different rate for each person. As symptoms change, medication will need to be adjusted. As the disease progresses, non-motor symptoms may also appear, such as depression, difficulty swallowing, sexual problems or cognitive changes.
It is important to find a doctor who is knowledgeable about Parkinson’s, ideally a neurologist. By working with a health-care team, a treatment plan can be created that will meet the person’s individual needs.
For the Parkinson Society of B.C., a better understanding of the full impact of Parkinson’s will ultimately result in better and more efficient use of the Canadian health care system and improved quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s.
For more information about Parkinson’s disease and to register for the Super Walk visit: www.parkinson.bc.ca/