You likely know someone with Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Twenty-five people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s in Canada every single day. Over 10,000 people with PD live in Southern Ontario.
Personally, I had a cursory and rather stereotypical understanding of Parkinson’s before my husband’s diagnosis. I assumed that seniors got Parkinson’s; that people with Parkinson’s shake. I really hadn’t thought of it much more than that.
My husband was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s at 43. That was eight years ago. I have learned a lot in these past eight years.
I learned that PD is a varied and complex spectrum of progressive motor and non-motor symptoms. I learned that my husband is resilient and positive, no matter what dignity is clawed back. I learned we could adapt, and together, we learned to laugh again.
We learned to accept.
Acceptance takes work.
Initially, acceptance felt like capitulation. We had to do something; I decided to visit the Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario. I am very glad I did. Here’s why…
The Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario is grassroots and genuine, with all their efforts rooted in hope. They service folks living with Parkinson’s and their families through research for a cure, advocacy, education and support. They are a small, efficient, unassuming, earnest team of people. They meet your eye with understanding and compassionate insight.
Our family attends a support group, volunteers at fundraising events and participates in conferences. For the past three years I have been on the planning committee for A Hair Affair for Parkinson’s sponsored by Lerners. The support group, in particular, helps us reconcile our worries and enables us to proactively plan our new reality.
In our journey we were shocked to learn this: the number of people with Parkinson’s is predicted to at least double by 2031.
We need community services – absolutely ¬ I have shared why that is close to my heart! We also need tangible, scientific and therapeutic advances to improve folk’s lives. The same drug that was the most effective treatment 40 years ago – that is not a typo –is still the primary Parkinson’s drug therapy today. I believe, I hope, we can soon do better.
We need to prioritize and fund research. Exciting and progressive research is happening right here in London, Ontario. Currently, the Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario supports the London Movement Disorders Centre Southwestern Ontario Brain Bank and the Graduate Student Scholarship Program at the University of Western Ontario. If chosen as a recipient of a donation by Lerners, the Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario would be better able to support the PD community and fund much needed, timely, and local research.
When we needed support, the Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario was there for us. Now, as a family, we are committed to giving back. That just feels good!
I thank you sincerely for your consideration.
Learn more about Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario