Dear friends of the Parkinson’s community:
It is with deep regret that we share with you today that our friend, Paddi Wood, passed away suddenly this weekend. The news brought shock to the office as she was in great spirits last week when Jean Blake, our CEO, had visited the Wood family while in Victoria for meetings.
Paddi was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2008, but her connection with the Society was strengthened when she agreed to join our network of advocates pushing for access to a life-altering drug for advanced Parkinson’s disease called Duodopa. Duodopa is a combination of levodopa and carbidopa, administered in the form of a gel, directly to the small intestine through a surgically placed tube.
While Parkinson Society BC (PSBC) works hard to reduce stigma associated with the disease as a result of misinformation and misunderstanding, there is still much to do in furthering awareness. As a result, there is bravery required in the disclosure of diagnosis – particularly when it means opening up in a public manner. Through her often unbearable and advancing symptoms, Paddi was there for countless interviews with media, pleading the case for bettering Parkinson’s care. Her husband, Brian, and two daughters, Kate and Jen, stood unwaveringly beside her through it all.
On February 14, 2017, with help from our advocates, and the dedication of Paddi, the Ministry of Health announced it would work with the Pacific Parkinson’s Research Centre to identify and prioritize patients for coverage of Duodopa. Paddi was one of the first British Columbians to receive the surgery. PSBC staff often recall this moment as one of the most memorable of their professional careers. There was immense comfort in knowing that the people who had worked so hard for change, were going to live longer, and more fulfilling lives with access to Duodopa.
Kate Wood, Paddi’s daughter, details the experience in a piece called “Three Pounds” published in our Winter 2019 edition of Viewpoints.
Paddi’s work within the community made her a friend to many affected by Parkinson’s disease as she continued to be involved with advocacy, fundraising, and her local exercise group . Again, her family remained her biggest cheerleaders through everything, with Kate volunteering her time to organize SuperWalk in Victoria, and Brian leading a walking group and speaking to others about the realities of caregiving.
We will remember Paddi as a humble, compassionate, and determined spirit, who held the interests of everyone affected by Parkinson’s closely.
We wish to extend our deepest sympathies to her family and friends during this difficult time.