April is awareness month for Parkinson’s disease and it is recognized internationally to coincide with the birth month of Dr. James Parkinson, for whom the disease was named.
If you have Parkinson’s or know someone who does, you are not alone. This is the message that Parkinson Society British Columbia (PSBC) wants to convey to the 11,000 individuals living with Parkinson’s in the province.
“The society’s services include information, resources, and education for people living with Parkinson’s” said Diane Robinson, CEO.
“We are reaching out so that we can help as many people as possible in B.C. and let them know that they are not alone.”
Kelowna resident, Wendy Olinger, knows first hand the daily challenges facing individuals living with Parkinson’s. As an active mother of a combined family of seven, grandmother of six, former community librarian and city councillor, she has struggled valiantly to live a normal life.
In 2009, when she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 55, she was determined the disease would not stop her productive life.
“I turned to PSBC for guidance and no longer felt that I was alone,” she said. “The services and programs the society provides helped me and my family move forward in a more positive way.”
“I also want a cure found as soon as possible”, she added “and I know that supporting research will take us there”.
She joined the Kelowna Support Group and had 250 walkers at the inaugural walk in Kelowna which raised more than $50,000.
In 2010, PSBC contributed $320,000 to researchers in B.C. including Catherine Winstanley and. Kaitlyn Roland, both from UBC Okanagan.
Established in 1969, PSBC is a registered charity that receives no government funding.