Parkinson’s fundraiser is this weekend

First-ever Parkinson’s SuperWalk taking place in Cranbrook, Saturday, September 7.

Susanne and Tracy Ellerbeck.

Susanne and Tracy Ellerbeck.

Tracy Ellerbeck’s mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s four years ago, at the age of 52. Tracy and her mother Suzanne recently decided to get matching tattoos of the Parkinson’s symbol of the tulip with the words “hope in bloom” – and found they wanted to do more for the cause.

“My mother heard about a family in Vancouver who had raised a significant amount for SuperWalk last year,” said Tracy. “We knew it would be a large task to take on, but decided that we were going to start our very own walk in Cranbrook.”

Tracy is now the local organizer for the first-ever Parkinson’s SuperWalk in Cranbrook. She’s working hard to spread the word and build awareness within the community.

“My family has always been very active,” she said. “We want to raise funds and find a cure for Parkinson’s, so my mother can continue to maintain her quality of life.” She said there are many people in the area who are touched by Parkinson’s and SuperWalk gives them hope.

Proceeds from SuperWalk events across B.C. go towards research and support services provided by Parkinson Society British Columbia.

Last year, the society funded two local researchers, hosted a regional conference and Young Onset seminar, delivered clinician training and community lectures to more than 400 people across the province and added five new support groups bringing the current total to 53.

The event takes place on Saturday, September 7, 2013, at 11 a.m. at the College of the Rockies track. Families and friends will walk together to raise critical funds for Parkinson’s research, support services and education. Register by visiting www.parkinson.bc.ca.

SuperWalk is the largest national fundraising event for Parkinson’s disease and this month communities across Canada and in B.C. will join in the initiative. In B.C. organizers hope to best last year’s fundraising of $595,000, while in Canada, the aim is to raise $3.3 million.

Parkinson’s is the second most common degenerative neurological disorder after Alzheimer’s noted the society. It is estimated that 11,000 British Columbians and more than 100,000 Canadians live with the disease. It is cruel and unforgiving causing tremors, rigidity, postural instability, difficulty talking, walking and swallowing, reduced facial expression, and in some cases, depression and dementia. The debilitating effects of Parkinson’s are felt not only by the person with the disease, but their entire family. It knows no bounds and can strike anyone – women and men of all ages, ethnic backgrounds and lifestyles. There is currently no known cure.