Kelowna man taking a super walk for Parkinson’s disease

You can help make a difference by joining the walk, September 10 at 10 a.m. at Waterfront Park/Concession Plaza

When Kelowna resident Garry Toop laces up his sneakers later this month, he’ll be alongside growing number of men and women who know how important it is to stand up to the effects of a degenerative disease.

Toop, who will be walking  in his ninth Parkinson SuperWalk Sept. 10, was told he had Parkinson’s Disease in 2006.

“I was pretty healthy when I got the diagnosis,” he said, adding that it took him by surprise because he was just 56, and thought it was something to affect much older people.

“At first you go through the honeymoon period, you take the medications and you hardly know you have Parkinson’s.  But it advances.”

Unwanted lurches and tremors can take over and its sufferers oftentimes withdraw from the the lives they made.

“There are times that you just aren’t that sociable,” Toop said.

The number of sufferers is growing in Canada, and it’s not just the elderly who are suffering. •

Over 13,300 British Columbians and 100,000 Canadians are currently living with Parkinson’s disease, according to statistics provided by the Ministry of Health and the number of Canadians over 40 living with Parkinson’s is expected to increase by 65 per cent by 2031 due to the aging population.

“They say its a geriatric thing, but more and more people are being affected from it at a younger age … it’s the most chronic neurological disease,” he said, noting that Michael J. Fox was afflicted in his 30s.

“I think it’s environmental. They say your genetics load the gun, but your environment pulls the trigger.”

You can help make a difference by joining  the walk, September 10 at 10 a.m. at Waterfront Park/Concession Plaza

Parkinson Society British Columbia is committed to helping those affected by Parkinson’s disease live well. Research has shown that exercise plays an important role in helping to man age the symptoms of the disease.

As a result, the Society has invested significant resources in training professionals to lead Parkinson’s specific exercise programming in communities across the province. In 2015, the Society doubled their programming over the previous year, including introducing webinar presentations to expand their reach.

As PSBC receives no government funding, the Society relies entirely on the generous do nations of individuals and corporations to provide their programs & services. As the largest fundraiser of the year, Parkinson SuperWalk is integral to PSBC’s operations.