Central Albertans brave wet weather to fight Parkinson disease

Parkinson is not just an old person disease.

That’s what Gull Lake resident Sonja McAlpin believes is a misconception about the condition.

McAlpin was at the Parkinson Association of Alberta’s seventh annual Parkinson Step ‘n Stride event at the Golden Circle Senior Resource Centre in Red Deer on Sunday morning.

“They say it’s an old person disease. I’m 65 now. I was diagnosed at 62,” she said. “And there’s people such as Michael J. Fox and lots of other people who are diagnosed very early, so it’s not an old person disease anymore.”

McAlpin has been supporting the event since she was diagnosed.

“It gives you an avenue to meet other people,” she said, emphasizing the importance of making connections with people who share similar experiences.

McAlpin was diagnosed with an arm tremor, which then developed in her leg. She is now steady on her medication.

She finds the Parkinson Association of Alberta’s services and resources helpful, and wants to see the annual event prosper.

Dacey Cooper-Varga, fund development manager for the Parkinson Association of Alberta, said the goal is to raise about $41,000 in Red Deer.

More than $21,000 was raised as of Sunday, but more pledges are expected to come in until October.

Cooper-Varga said the money is used for professional counselling, one-on-one support for those with the disease as well as their care partners, education and research.

“It allows our clients and care partners to not feel alone with the disease, and they can be in the Parkinson community and be around people who are going through similar symptoms,” she added.


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