I write this as both a recipient of the services that Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario offers and a volunteer with the organization.
When my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2002, our family was devastated. We had minimal knowledge of the disease and received very little information from the medical community. Fortunately, we were made aware of Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario and the services they offered – particularly their support group meetings – as time progressed. Here, we had the opportunity to share our concerns with others going through the same dilemma and as the disease advanced and my husband had to go to a long-term care home, I was not alone, as over the years I had made many friends from attending the support group meetings.
Additionally, the London office supplied me with meaningful information on Parkinson’s. Help sheets on both the motor and non-motor symptoms that answered my many questions were readily available. The PD Update magazine has a wealth of information. Although the office staff is limited, they are always available to assist.
The Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario does not receive any government funding and is solely dependent upon fund raising activities and donations. Their annual Walk is an event that our family has participated in over the past 12 years. My husband suggested that we enter a team for the Walk – he was a walker for many years as it helped both his posture and gait. Thus began “Gwyn’s Gang” and we were able to raise thousands over the years. As time went on, I became more involved and now sit on the Windsor “Walk-It” committee which gives me the opportunity to help raise money annually for this great cause.
Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario has impacted me in many ways – certainly my awareness of this disease and an opportunity to pass along as much information as possible to others who suffer from Parkinson’s. For the past three years and hopefully for the next few, I co-facilitate our monthly support group meetings, hoping to bring more knowledge and understanding to those 5,000 individuals and their families living with Parkinson’s in Southwestern Ontario. I will be participating again this year in the Walk-It for Parkinson’s with a goal of $1000.00 in pledges – in memory of the husband I lost Christmas, 2017.
However, to continue undergrad research grants, exercise programs such as Rock Steady Boxing and Advocacy, Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario requires donations. I trust you will give strong consideration to this organization with your 90th Anniversary Charitable Giveaway.