The unpredictability of Parkinson’s disease is what Renice Townsend finds most frustrating these days.
But she’ s determined to live life in the present and focus on what she can do, not what she can’t do after battling the illness for 14 years.
This year the annual community walk for Parkinson’s didn’t come together locally, however that isn’t stopping the Fruitvale grandmother from planning her own Parkinson Superwalk – and she’s inviting the community to join her on Saturday or support her walk by pledging to the cause.
“I’ve been personally touched by the challenges of Parkinson’s disease,” says Townsend. “My friends and family, especially my grandchildren, and PSBC (Parkinson Society British Columbia) along with much professional expertise continue to help me face the many challenges in a positive direction.”
She’s asking others to join her in the second lake parking lot at Champion Lakes on Oct. 1 at 10:30 a.m. for the 45-minute hike.
“(The hike) helps me reflect on how fortunate I am to live in a beautiful part of the world,” Townsend said. “It would be wonderful to have lots of company in the ‘Virtual Superwalk.
“All contributions, no matter how big or how small, are critical to those affected by Parkinson’s. I hope you’ll consider supporting my walk this year and helping me reach my fundraising goal.”
Parkinson’s is the second most common degenerative neurological disorder after Alzheimer’s disease, more than 100,000 Canadians live with the disease, including 13,000 in British Columbia.
The disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. It develops gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand that progresses into stiffness in muscles and joints, bradykinesia (slowness of movement) as well as balance and postural impairment.
There is no cure at this time, but medications may markedly improve symptoms and range of motion exercises can help.
Renice was integral in recognizing the need for regular exercise sessions in the Trail area and has been taking part in a therapy group that meets in St. Andrew’s Anglican Church for one hour every Thursday around lunchtime.
“In reality, I continue to exercise but I am experiencing freezing, slowness of movement, shuffling, tremor, pain, and the unpredictability of when these symptoms may happen,” says Townsend. “I immediately think of my grandchildren who continue to inspire and encourage me, plus friends and family, and I am fortunate to have great medical/health support, exercise and positive self-talk “I can!”
To contribute to Townsend’s Parkinson Superwalk, contact her at 250.367.7437, by email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Parkinson Society BC website at parkinson.bc.ca. Click on ‘Events’ then “Parkinson Superwalk” under the ‘How to Help’ tab. To donate to Renice, click on the option “Donate to a Walker” and type in Renice Townsend. She currently is about one third the way to her $2,000 fundraising goal for the year.
For information on the Trail/Castlegar Parkinson’s Support Group, contact Patti Leggett at 250.367.9258 or Todd Wallace, 250.357.9224.