First 'Walk-It' for Parkinson's a resounding success
by Sandy Lindsay

September 11, 2016


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Piper Steve Wolfe leads the walkers on their trek

The Cotie family were out in full force for father, Pastor Bob Cotie (L)
Holly Vanderzwet (R) of Fitness Corner had walkers like Mary Sylver (L) get warmed up

Saugeen Shores' first annual Walk-It for Parkinson's held in Port Elgin on Sunday, September 11th, was a resounding success according to organizers.

More than 90 people registered for the walk along with many volunteers and supporters who helped in a variety of ways.

Mayor Mike Smith

Mayor Mike Smith said that it's the people of the community who make things like the Walk-it event a better place to live.  "We all should be thankful for the volunteers and everyone who come out to events like this to help others."

The walkers, who all wore pedometers for an accurate count on their 1km to 5km along the Lake Huron shoreline, took 375,870 steps and raised $16,977 with more pledges still coming in on-line.  The steps are part of the one million step goal and $405,000 fundraising effort. The dollars raised remain southwestern Ontario

Tots to 4-legged walkers took part

Parkinsonís is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder (after Alzheimerís disease).

The progressive neurological disorder results from the loss of dopamine (a chemical messenger) in a part of the brain called the 'substantia nigra'. At sufficient levels, dopamine allows nerve impulses to travel from one nerve cell to another, creating smooth and coordinated movement. Parkinsonís disease causes nerve cells in the 'substantia nigra' to become impaired or to die, resulting in diminished levels of dopamine. This lack of dopamine results in the adverse motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinsonís.

As dopamine levels decrease, many adverse motor and non-motor symptoms arise. Primary symptoms associated with Parkinsonís include tremor, rigidity, akinesia (lack of movement), bradykinesia (slow, stiff movement), postural instability, loss of balance control, soft speech, writing problems and sleep disturbances. Non-motor symptoms can include depression, anxiety, psychosis, dementia, memory problems and difficulty with communication.

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Parkinsonís shows no social, ethnic, economic or geographic boundaries. Approximately 10,000 individuals currently live with Parkinsonís disease in Southwestern Ontario. Symptoms typically begin to appear at age 55 to 60 years, although 10% of all people diagnosed with Parkinsonís will be under the age of 40.

Mayor Mike Smith and friend Reta McCourt

"We are so fortunate to have such a great community," says Volunteer Coordinator, Leah Coulthart-Howe. "We also want to thank four others who volunteered  ... piper Steven Wolfe, MC Brian Longmire from 98thebeach, photographer Jennifer O'Reilly and fitness instructor Holly Vanderzwet for the warm-up!

Radio celebrity, Brian Longmire, emceed

Currently, there is no cure for Parkinsonís disease. Current research projects are aiming to form a deeper understanding of the causes and the treatment options for people living with Parkinsonís.  

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Sunday, September 11, 2016