The College of the Rockies athletic track hosted the annual Parkinson’s SuperWalk this past weekend, as local advocates walked laps for an hour while raising money for the Parkinson Society of BC.
The SuperWalk is billed as the largest provincial and national event to help raise awareness and money that will go towards supporting local research and support groups.
For some of the participants in the SuperWalk, like Linda Normandeau, the event carries significant meaning as their lives have been affected by Parkinson Disease, either personally or through a family member.
Normandeau, who lost her husband to Parkinson’s Disease, is a facilitator for a local support group and says the SuperWalk is vital for grassroots programming.
“It is the most important event of the year,” Normandeau said.
Normandeau organizes the local support group meetings and is the local link to the Parkinson’s Society of BC, distributing information that may be useful for people who are living with Parkinson’s or have family members living with Parkinson’s.
“They’ve always got something in the can, it seems,” Normandeau said, who also noted that it’s important to distribute Parkinson’s literature as some members of the support group can no longer attend meetings.
She admits that some people aren’t into meetings or sharing personal information, but for those who come out, it can be a cathartic experience.
“Those that really feel they need the support — we are a support group and basically we do a lot of chatting around the table, we share our wins, we share our losses in regards to how the disease is progressing,” Normandeau said.
It can be especially helpful in terms of talking about symptoms and strategies to deal with how symptoms present themselves, she added.
“With these chit-chats, they probably would just be wondering: What is this? Is this part of my disease? Is this something else? Where can I go to get information? Parkinson’s Society is their best go and main contact, but on a local level, we meet once a month.”
The group meets on the third Wednesday of every month in a private area of the Heritage Inn. For more information, contact Normandeau at 250-489-4252.