Q: How did you become a part of PWP/ParkinGo and how long have you been attending class?
I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s on November 18, 2008 while living in Calgary. At that time my husband Gil and I spent out winters in Phoenix. The following March, while in Phoenix, I met a women with Parkinson’s at my fitness class. She invited me to go to a Davis Phinney Victory Summit in Tucson. I knew very little about Parkinson’s at that time because ‘I had buried my head in the sand’ since my diagnosis. That day at the Victory Summit changed my life because I met Dr Becky Farley who is from Tucson and has a gym specifically for Parkinson’s there. (Parkinson Wellness Recovery, Exercise 4 Brain Change, PWR!Moves) I have now been to her gym twice and to her week long retreats for Parkinson’s in Phoenix, three times. I saw how exercising using Parkinson specific exercises, along with socializing with others on this same journey was so important.
In 2012 Gil and I moved to Victoria. I noticed on the internet that Jillian Carson had a group of people with Parkinson’s exercising together using the PWR!Moves at Panorama Recreation Centre. I contacted her and joined the group. Jillian is a friend of Becky Farley’s and had taken her instructor’s course. Soon the group outgrew Panorama and we moved to Greenglade Community centre and named our group ParkinGo. Jillian always said that there were so many more people who needed this support so another class was added in downtown Victoria.
Here we are now, a not for profit charity with lots more classes, super instructors and a new home of our own. This is the community that jillian dreamed about. I feel lucky to live in Victoria.
Q: What does PWP mean to you?
PWP means community to me. It means support. It means caring. It means understanding. It means exercise. It means fun. It means friends. I feel blessed to be a part of this wonderful organization.
Q: Any words of advice for people who are newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease?
My advice to those newly diagnosed with PD is to tell people you have Parkinson’s. You never know where that will lead. If I hadn’t told the fitness instructor in Phoenix, that day, I never would have met the woman with Parkinson’s who took me to that Davis Phinney Victory Summit in Tucson.
Q: What is your favourite place to go walking in Victoria?
I love to pole walk. I put my music on to a great beat, grab my poles and am out the door. I find the music makes my movements so much easier and fluid. I live near Lochside trail so walk there and have discovered lots of other trails around my home. I also love to walk the Songhees Walkway, Mystic Vale at U of Vic and along the waterfront in Sidney. We are fortunate to have so many wonderful places to walk in this beautiful city.