Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario (PSSO) provides support to persons impacted by Parkinson’s Disease and their families. The organization’s goals include increasing community awareness and education, as well as raising funds to support research and services across the region. The PSSO’s upcoming Annual Walk for Parkinson’s takes place on September 9 and 10.
Jessica Halls is the PSSO’s manager of marketing and communications. “There are 14 different walk locations this year. The Annual Walk for Parkinson’s is our main fundraiser for the year. We raised $410,000 in 2022. For me, the biggest part is having the community come together for the walk. It means so much to see the community’s support,” says Halls.
Funds raised by the Walk for Parkinson’s have numerous positive impacts. For example, the PSSO holds 27 virtual and in-person support groups across southwestern Ontario for those living with Parkinson’s and their care partners. The Walk for Parkinson’s highlights the strength of those living with Parkinson’s and those who care for them, while also bringing awareness to the real struggles that these individuals face each day.
Parkinson’s is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects both motor and non-motor functions. For many, Parkinson’s is marked by external tremors, and uncontrolled and spontaneous movements. Other symptoms can include stiffness, slowness, depression, loss of balance, hallucinations, and difficulty with speech and writing.
Windsor resident Stuart Selby is enthusiastic about the resources that PSSO can provide because of the funds raised by the Annual Walk for Parkinson’s. Selby was a care partner for his late wife Suzanne, who lived with Parkinson’s for more than a decade. A retired university professor, Selby is an energetic 90 year-old and this will be his 12th year participating in the walk.
“The Walk for Parkinson’s is a big part of my life. Each year, I contact over 100 friends to donate through personal emails. I’ve been a loyal supporter and advocate for the PSSO for many years. I encourage more people to walk,” says Stuart Selby.
He will be participating in the Windsor-Essex Walk for Parkinson’s on September 10 at Malden Park in Windsor.
Halls notes that, while symptoms typically begin to appear at age 55 to 60 years, 10 per cent of all people diagnosed are under the age of 40 and have Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease. She says that approximately 10,000 people across Southwestern Ontario are living with Parkinson’s.
In 2022, the PSSO’s services were accessed 2,680 times and, through its partnership with Mitacs, $175,000 was invested into research related to Parkinson’s (including graduate student scholarships).
THIS STORY WAS CREATED BY POSTMEDIA CONTENT WORKS, ON BEHALF OF THE PARKINSON SOCIETY OF SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO.