“This summer I am taking part in Pedaling for Parkinson’s – a cycling event that was created to raise awareness about Parkinson’s and raise funds for research. Your donations support the Pedaling for Parkinson’s Research Grant and the Parkinson Canada Research Program.
Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disease. Movement is normally controlled by dopamine, a chemical that carries signals between the nerves in the brain. When cells that normally produce dopamine die, the symptoms of Parkinson’s appear. Currently, there is no cure. The need is only increasing. More than 25 Canadians are diagnosed with Parkinson’s every day; more than one person every hour. By 2031, the number of people living with Parkinson’s in Canada will more than double. Your support fuels the increasing need for research to improve quality of life and ultimately find a cure.
With your support we can help Parkinson Canada realize their vision of a better life today for Canadians living with Parkinson’s; a world without Parkinson’s tomorrow.”
For the last three years, I have done the sprint duathlon. In 2015, I had not done any training and found the transition from the bike to the second run to be particularly troublesome. Last year I did some training in anticipation of that transition. However when I started the second run, my feet felt really flat and I had difficulty running. I attributed this to my somewhat overused running shoes and opted to finish the race in my bare feet.
In hindsight, the problem was not my sneakers. In April, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. My symptoms include an inability to make my right foot do what I want it to do. I now think this is why I had difficulty last year.
I used to like running. Now I find it frustrating because it just doesn’t feel normal. I almost bailed on the race this year, but my cousin Tara convinced me to participate. I decided that I would enjoy the morning, hanging out with my friends and fellow competitors. I walked most of the second leg, enjoying the sunshine, the views of Lake Huron and the amazing support from everyone involved. Fellow competitors, volunteers and strangers on the street smiled, waved, honked horns, and yelled words of encouragement as I passed by. I had fun.
I don’t know if I’ll do the race next year. I’ll decide how I feel closer to registration but I might volunteer if racing seems like too much.
Susan Fullerton, a lawyer working for the government, lives in Toronto. She is an avid traveller who has had varying levels of fitness throughout her life. These days, she’s focused on being a reformed hoarder, trying to make better choices about how she spends her time and money.