Walking proud at Parkinson’s SuperWalk

Around 15 members of the public took part in the 2022 South Cariboo Parkinson’s Super Walk this year including lead organizer Philip Konrad in front. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Around 15 members of the public took part in the 2022 South Cariboo Parkinson’s Super Walk this year including lead organizer Philip Konrad in front. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
The Even Keel Band & Friends perform live at the 2022 South Cariboo Parkinson’s SuperWalk. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 MIle Free Press)The Even Keel Band & Friends perform live at the 2022 South Cariboo Parkinson’s SuperWalk. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 MIle Free Press)
Philip Konrad, the organizer of the 2022 Parkinson’s SuperWalk, addresses the crowd at last week’s event thanking them for their support. Konrad also thanked the event’s sponsors including Donex Pharmacy & Department Store, Sunrise Ford, Save-on-Foods, 100 Mile Feed and Ranch Supply, Tim Hortons, Exeter Sporting Goods, Ace Hardware, Integra Tire and Auto Centre, Timbermart, South Cariboo Motor Sports, Kal Tire, Cariboo Christian Life Fellowship and Chemo RV. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 MIle Free Press)Philip Konrad, the organizer of the 2022 Parkinson’s SuperWalk, addresses the crowd at last week’s event thanking them for their support. Konrad also thanked the event’s sponsors including Donex Pharmacy & Department Store, Sunrise Ford, Save-on-Foods, 100 Mile Feed and Ranch Supply, Tim Hortons, Exeter Sporting Goods, Ace Hardware, Integra Tire and Auto Centre, Timbermart, South Cariboo Motor Sports, Kal Tire, Cariboo Christian Life Fellowship and Chemo RV. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 MIle Free Press)
Aiden Zonruiter carries the 2022 South Cariboo Parkinson’s SuperWalk flag last Saturday. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 MIle Free Press)Aiden Zonruiter carries the 2022 South Cariboo Parkinson’s SuperWalk flag last Saturday. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 MIle Free Press)
Around 15 members of the public took part in the 2022 South Cariboo Parkinson’s Super Walk this year that took place around Centennial Park. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 MIle Free Press)Around 15 members of the public took part in the 2022 South Cariboo Parkinson’s Super Walk this year that took place around Centennial Park. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 MIle Free Press)

Everyone was marching for someone at the South Cariboo Parkinson’s SuperWalk this year.

After a three-year hiatus, the fundraising walk returned to Centennial Park last Saturday with around 20 different participants. Organizer Philip Konrad, who was marching for everyone who has Parkinson’s, said the event was a success.

“I didn’t know how it would go because of three years off. People were showing up early and I’m glad for that,” Konrad said. “If we hadn’t had COVID, I would have expected more, but no, I’m not unhappy.”

Joining Konrad in leading the walk was Rebecca Zonruiter and her son Aiden. Zonruiter said she was walking for her father, Harold, who has Parkinson’s and has attended the walk since its inception in 100 Mile. Since Harold moved down to Kamloops, he was unable to attend this year and she felt it was her duty to participate on his behalf.

“I don’t think Parkinson’s is the most publicized disease out there, so the more knowledge out there the better,” Zonruiter said. “You never want to see your loved ones unwell by any means but I know the local Parkinson’s support group was a good support system. He always looked forward to going to the meetings and seeing how his fellows were doing.”

Zonruiter said she intends to walk again next year and is hopeful the event keeps getting bigger every year.

Colin Jeffrey attended the event to support his longtime friend Konrad. While Jeffrey doesn’t have Parkinson’s himself, he is no stranger to disability since diabetes cost him his feet.

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“I know what it’s like to be handicapped, I have diabetes myself and I have to use a walker now. It’s not a fun thing for folks who are handicapped and I think we have to give them all the support we can,” Jeffrey said.

Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that causes unintentional movements and tremors that typically get worse over time impacting patients’ abilities to walk and talk. Konrad, who lives with the disease himself, said the SuperWalk not only shows the resiliency of the Parkinson’s community but also promotes the importance of staying active in combating the disease.

All money raised by the walk goes to the Parkinson Society British Columbia, a group dedicated to researching a cure since 1969.

Konrad said this year the society lobbied for the expansion of B.C.’s deep brain stimulation program which resulted in the hiring of a second neurosurgeon specializing in the procedure.

“This is an essential step in reducing lengthy wait lists and improving the quality of life of those living with Parkinson’s disease,” Konrad said.

The procedure involves implanting a neurostimulator into a patient’s brain which directly stimulates the brain to combat the tremors.

By hiring a new neurosurgeon Konrad said they should be able to reduce the three year wait that most patients have had to go through.

Konrad said the SuperWalk website will still accept donations until Dec. 31.



patrick.davies@100milefreepress.net

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