Walking together on this important journey
August 2022 Good News
Every September, people across the province come together to raise awareness of the realities of living with Parkinson's disease (PD), while celebrating the strength and resilience of the PD community.
Parkinson SuperWalk is as much a fundraiser that helps ensure everyone touched by Parkinson's has the support they need to live well today, as it is an opportunity to foster connections and spark hope. For many participants, it may be the first time they have felt that they are a part of a large community of people on similar journeys to their own.
Shortly after her husband's diagnosis in 2018, Marna Thomas and her family were introduced to Parkinson SuperWalk through a close friend, who was a former employee of the Society. At the time, she was still in the early stages of processing her husband's diagnosis.
When they arrived in Stanley Park in Vancouver the morning of SuperWalk, their family friend came over with big hugs, coffees, and juice boxes for the kids. Marna recalls looking around and seeing a sea of blue SuperWalk t-shirts on participants of all ages. What struck her then was the sense of community, that other people understood what she and her family were going through.
"Before we knew it, we were off walking through the colourful gardens in Lost Lagoon," Marna says. "I remember walking around the bend as a group, and views of the Vancouver skyline and the glistening waters of Coal Harbour appeared. And at that moment, with the sun on my face, surrounded by supportive friends and family, I started to understand that we would be okay."
Marna was also impressed by how accessible the Walk was. Three years ago, she broke her foot and had to participate while rolling around on a knee scooter. Despite it being a particularly difficult time for her, she was still able to enjoy the route, views, and time with friends and family.
Marna felt compelled to participate in SuperWalk because of the invaluable support Parkinson Society BC (PSBC) had provided her family in the early days of her husband's diagnosis. It was through PSBC's informational resources and counselling that Marna and her husband were able to better understand the disease and the changes they could expect.
"Parkinson Society BC has been very good to us. [Participating in SuperWalk] is one way we can show support for their important work," she says. That is why Marna and her family are participating as a team this year. They missed doing the walk together for the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and are looking forward to being back in Stanley Park with loved ones this year. "[SuperWalk] is an opportunity to walk with friends and family in a beautiful setting for an important cause," she says.
Marna wrote a poem for her team that reflects the sense of camaraderie and support she feels, which she has shared with PSBC:
Walk with me
Hold me up Arbutus
With your imperfect branches
Your silhouette frames the light, cloud
Leaning, healing, inspiring Us
With your strong roots
The path is worn, gnarly
With slippery leaves
Hold me up Arbutus
Walk with me
On this important journey
It is with the support of individuals like Marna that PSBC is able to continue to provide the programs, support services, and educational resources that people with Parkinson's, their families, and carepartners rely on.