© JOHN BRANNEN - THE NEWS
Josephine Jollymore, left, Nick Kavadias, Dennis McGee, and Margaret Milne work to get sponsors and signatures for the Parkinson’s Superwalk, which takes place on Saturday Sept. 14 at Northumberland Regional High School in Alma. Registration starts at 1 p.m. and the walk begins at 2 p.m.
NEW GLASGOW – Nick Kavadias struggled to hold back tears as he talked about life a decade ago.
“I worked in the IT business, with computers,” said Kavadias. “Very delicate work, as you can imagine.”
About seven years ago, everything changed. He woke up one morning and knew something was wrong.
His body was betraying him.
“It took three neurologists to finally tell me that I had Parkinson’s disease,” he said. “Even with the drugs, my hands were no longer steady enough to work.”
It’s for and because of people like Nick that many are signing up for the Parkinson’s Superwalk on Saturday, Sept. 14 at Northumberland Regional High School in Alma. Registration starts at 1 p.m. and the walk begins at 2 p.m.
According to Josephine Jollymore, the Parkinson’s Superwalk is the largest fundraiser in support of Parkinson’s disease nationwide. Last year, walks across the Maritimes raised over $200,000 and this year our region hopes to raise exponentially more.
“We are encouraging participants this year to join the fun for all ages and register as a team,” said Jollymore. “Whether you power walk or take a relaxing pace, it’s good exercise in the great outdoors.”
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, progressive neurodegenerative disorder which involves a loss of cells in the brain responsible for controlling movement. Parkinson’s disease affects every aspect of daily living for more than 119,000 Canadians, an estimated 8,400 of those currently living in the Maritime provinces.
“On behalf of persons living with Parkinson’s disease in the Parkinson Society Maritime Region, along with friends, family, caregivers and volunteers, would like to thank all our donors,” said Jollymore. “We could not do so without your support.”
Dennis McGee of Stellarton was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2009.
“I have a brother in Ontario who has had Parkinson’s for the past 25 years,” said McGee. “So it’s something that’s been on my mind.”
He said his wife noticed tremors in his hands and several months later, his doctor delivered the diagnosis of Parkinson’s.
“There’s not much I can do now,” said McGee. “I try to stay positive and take it one day at a time. The support group has been a big help.”
The Parkinson Society Maritime Region Pictou County Support Group, in which people who have or are affected by Parkinson’s in some way can meet, is an asset for those with the disease.
“Attending the support group helps since we can share solutions to our problems,” said Kavadias.
“All are invited to attend, including family members, care partners and health care practitioners,” said Jollymore.
The support group meets the second Tuesday of every month besides July and August at 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Atlantic Superstore on the Westville Road in New Glasgow.
For Kavadias, he said the disease will be a slow progression.
“I try to keep myself occupied with gardening or exercise,” he said. “Accepting the disease is a mental challenge. I hope and wish that one day we’ll have a cure.”
On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn