At the heart of the success of the Parkinson’s SuperWalk are its participants, including PJ Burns of Langley.
Burns is a 54-year-old university instructor whose hobbies include triathlons, distance running, swimming, kayaking and yoga.
He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s just over a year ago, and Parkinson’s Society of BC has been a source of information and resources for him since day one.
Immediately after Burns’ diagnosis, he called the society. Three days later, he received a package full of vital information.
“I hold the Parkinson Society of BC in high regard. The information they provide in print and in electronic form is excellent as are the seminars they stage,” said Burns. “The single most important service that PSBC offered for me was counselling. Counselling helped me get past the initial shock of my diagnosis and encouraged me to live in the present while regarding the future with hope.”
Since his diagnosis, he has been supported by an encouraging group of friends and family.
HIS WIFE IS HIS ‘CARE WARRIOR’
His wife, Kim, has demonstrated fierce devotion to his well-being — Burns calls her his “care warrior.”
He continues to stay physical active.
“Research suggests that regular and intense physical activity helps people with Parkinson’s maintain the ability to move and may even slow the disease progression,” said Burns. “As a result, the day after my diagnosis my wife Kim cleaned out our garage and turned it into a home gym; complete with stationary bike, free weights, boxing gloves, and an assortment of other workout gear.”
He also continues to run, just slower. He does Tai Chi, yoga and works on recovering his normal walking gait which has been impacted.
“Walking that was previously automatic is something I now have to think about.”
ADVICE FOR NEWLY DIAGNOSED
His advice to those who have been newly diagnosed is get out, be active and remain social.
“Workout in a group or with a friend. Do what motivates you to be active. Then be an advocate and help raise awareness of PD. Parkinson’s Disease is not a disease confined to the elderly it affects young people as well.”
Every year, thousands of British Columbians participate in the Parkinson SuperWalk. This year marks the 21st anniversary of the event taking place in British Columbia, with over 20 communities participating Sunday, Sept. 11 at 10 a.m. at Douglas Park Recreation Centre in Langley City.
Registered walkers will exercise their superpowers by generating awareness of the disease and helping to raise funds for valuable education, resources, support services and research.
The society receives no government funding and relies heavily on this walk to fund all of its services.
You can help make a difference by joining the community heroes on Sunday, Sept. 11. To donate, or register, go to
SuperWalkBC.kintera.org or call 1-800-668-3330.
Over 13,300 British Columbians have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and due to the increase in the aging population, the number of Canadians over 40 living with Parkinson’s is expected to rise by as much as 65 percent by 2031.
Parkinson’s not only affects those with the disease, it also affects family members and care partners. It is the second most common neuro-degenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s disease.