April 19-25 marks National Volunteer Week in 2020. Parkinson Society British Columbia (PSBC) relies on the dedication and support of volunteers across the province, who help facilitate our support groups, organize Parkinson SuperWalk in their communities, and put on local fundraising events. Volunteers are part of everything we do, and we are grateful for their generosity and commitment to the Parkinson’s community.
Volunteering with PSBC has been an important role in Lynda’s family. "Volunteering is a family affair. My daughter, Bea, co-facilitates and assists me in getting ready for meetings. Bea is 20 years old and very close with her Grandpa Barry. Bea ran a support meeting by herself in December!” Lynda says proudly. Lynda has been an active volunteer with PSBC for several decades. Lynda began her journey as a volunteer at SuperWalk helping her mom with the Surrey Bear Creek walk location. 21 years ago Lynda’s father, Barry, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Before being diagnosed, Barry experienced symptoms such as fatigue, minor tremors, and balance, with mobility being a major issue today. Lynda’s role as a daughter shifted when her mother passed, leaving her to slip into the carepartner role for her father. “As the daughter, we had boundaries that had to be broken. I see and take care of many personal things for my dad. I have learned how hard being a care partner is”, she explains.
After the diagnosis, Lynda began accompanying her dad to his support group meetings to ensure he attended. In 2015, the group’s facilitator was ready to step down. Lynda, being an organizer at heart took over the position and followed the amazing legacy of the previous facilitator. Her local support group meetings can get busy with an average of 25-40 attendees and only ten minutes for set-up, but Lynda says, “It is demanding in my full life to be the facilitator, but it is so worth it. I get so much out of the meetings and I am always striving to balance the needs of all our attendees.” For Lynda, rejoicing with her attendees’ victories and crying with them during the tough times is the most rewarding aspect of her role.
Lynda understands that attending a support group might not be the primary option for everyone. It can be quite shocking surrounding yourself with others who have progressed further with the disease or you may not feel comfortable sharing your personal experiences. However, Lynda believes “attending gives you hope, access to information and the ability to learn from others who are already dealing with many of the same things you are.” As for volunteering, Lynda hopes to encourage others to get involved and to always try it. She knows that if one appreciates volunteering, they can get an extremely rewarding experience out of it. If you’re nervous about stepping into the facilitator role, understand that it is continually evolving! Lynda notes that a whole team could take over and it does not have to be a one man’s job. Lynda has been a long-time valued volunteer for PSBC and would like to say “thank you to all the heroes, those with PD and their carepartners, that I am honored to call my friends.”
Are you interested in becoming a volunteer for PSBC? Contact Caroline Wiggins, Special Events & Fundraising Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more, or call us at 1-800-668-3330 or 604-662-3240.