Parkinson SuperWalk: ready to make a difference

The Parkinson SuperWalk will be taking place on Sept. 17 in Fort St. James.

  • Sep. 14, 2016 7:00 a.m.

Barbara Latkowski

Caledonia Courier

The Parkinson SuperWalk will be taking place on Sept. 17 in Fort St. James.

It is the single most important national awareness and fundraising event for the Parkinson Society of British Columbia.

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 SuperWalk will 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 organizing the event and she is excited to be doing so for the 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. The organization helps Canadians to live with Parkinson’s through education, advocacy and support services.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s 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.

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, visit: www.parkinson.bc.ca/

To register for the walk, contact Sara at: (250) 996-3386

The walk will begin at Nak’azdli Health Centre. Registration will begin at 11:30 a.m. and the walk will start at 12:00 p.m.