Tri-county group to participate in Halifax SuperWalk, a Parkinson Canada fundraiser

Published on September 6, 2017

Celinda Balser (left) is a co-facilitator for the tri-county Parkinson’s support group and Jacqueline Landry is the facilitator. Here Balser holds a book dedicated to the tulip, the floral symbol for Parkinson’s disease.

©Eric Bourque

YARMOUTH -- In what already was a milestone year for the Parkinson’s community worldwide, 2017 should go down as a notable year for the Parkinson’s community in southwestern Nova Scotia too.

Parkinson Canada’s SuperWalk will be held the second weekend of September and, for the first time, the tri-county area is sending a team to Halifax to take part in the walk there. Scheduled for Sept. 9, the Halifax event is one in a series of walks being held as part of Parkinson Canada’s annual national fundraiser.

A spokesperson for a local Parkinson’s support group says she hopes Yarmouth will have its own walk next year, but for now she says they’re looking forward to walking in Halifax.

Jacqueline Landry, a Parkinson Canada ambassador and facilitator of a tri-county support group for people with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers, says having a team in Halifax is a big accomplishment for the local group, which is less than a year old.

When it was formed last October, the tri-county group had five members. Its membership is now in the 30-to-40 range and growing, Landry said.

Landry, who took part in her first SuperWalk in Halifax a year ago, called it “an amazing experience.”

 “It’s a wonderful way to make connections,” she said. “Last year when I went, it was just after the Olympics, so there were Olympians there. There were some individuals from The Amazing Race and Big Brother. They support our cause. There’s always a few celebrities there, so it’s quite a big event.”

For the international Parkinson’s community, this is a bicentennial year. It was in 1817 that an essay by James Parkinson, an English surgeon, was published in which he first described the symptoms of the disease that would later bear his name.

As for the tri-county Parkinson’s support group, Landry says a donation from the 100 Guys Who Share of Yarmouth County – whom the group approached for support – has enabled the group to do more things.

“With the donation, we were able to buy equipment for exercise therapies,” Landry said. “We just did a workshop at the Grand Hotel and we are doing more workshops. This wouldn’t be possible without the donation (from) 100 Guys.”

Landry invites anyone looking for information about the support group or about the SuperWalk to contact her. They can do so a number of ways, including Facebook (under Jackie Landry), where they will find a link to her SuperWalk page.

As a Parkinson Canada ambassador, Landry said, “I try to reach out to as many people as possible. SuperWalk is a way to do that.”

What is it?

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive brain disease. Movement is controlled by dopamine, a chemical that carries signals between the nerves in the brain. When the dopamine-producing cells die, Parkinson symptoms appear. Symptoms include tremors and shaking, slowness in movement, muscle stiffness, balance problems, soft speech, changes in thinking ability, sleep disturbances, stooped posture, depression.