Grandparents, friends, family members, and even children showed up in Centennial Park on Saturday, Sept. 7 to show their support for individuals living with Parkinson’s disease by participating in the community’s fourth annual Parkinson SuperWalk.
More than 50 people attended the walk this year and raised over $2,000 for the Parkinson Society British Columbia (PSBC). This year’s event set a record for participation in 100 Mile House.
Philip Konrad is the man behind the South Cariboo’s SuperWalk, which he began alongside his wife Barb four years ago. Many of the participants who walked through the park on Saturday were there to support Konrad, who is living with Parkinson’s disease, a long-term degenerative disorder.
Konrad was impressed with the day’s weather and the turnout of participants, too.
“It’s an exciting day for the 29th anniversary of the walk in B.C.” he said. “It’s the largest fundraising event of the year for the Parkinson Society, and this year over 20 communities in B.C. are having their walk.”
“Every person with Parkinson’s is affected with different symptoms,” explained Konrad. “But we all know that physical and mental exercise and medication contribute to quality of life, so we have this symbolic event, the SuperWalk, to help raise awareness.”
There is no cure for the progressive neurological disorder, which is typically treated by focussing on symptom management most often through exercise and medication. The Parkinson Society British Columbia (PSBC) uses the SuperWalk to raise funds for advocacy efforts, contributions to research, and local programs and services for those living with the disease.
In 2016, Konrad helped establish a support group for Parkinson’s survivors and their families, with the help of a few others who also have the disease. Previously, Philip and Barb travelled to Kamloops to attend the SuperWalk there.
In 100 Mile House, one young man even rode his bicycle through the SuperWalk. Kurt Lundsbye was the only participant on a bike, but he traversed the park on Saturday with his whole family alongside him.
“It’s Kurt’s birthday party today,” said his mother Kimberly Vance-Lundsbye, who explained that his party would get started after finishing the SuperWalk. Kurt celebrated his actual birthday on Sept. 5.
“We have friends and family with Parkinson’s,” said Vance-Lundsbye. This is the first time the family has participated in the SuperWalk together, but all three young children were on board for the event alongside their mother and father.
Joanne and Dennis Hunter attended the SuperWalk for the second year in support of Konrad, who is a friend of theirs. They donated to the cause this year and plan to attend the walk again next year.
Phyllis and Art Greenlees attended the SuperWalk for the first time this year. Phyllis is living with Parkinson’s disease and was supported by her husband Art during Saturday’s event. Art pushed Phyllis through the walking route in her wheelchair.
“I’ve been pushing her for 64 years,” he said with a smile.
Phyllis read about the scheduled SuperWalk in an edition of the Free Press and the couple decided to attend together.
Sweet Chariot performed before and after the SuperWalk, even serenading walkers with a special song to get them started off on their short route around the park. The band includes members Pat Melanson, Ryan Rempel, Bruce Wilcox and lead singer Lydia McLelland.
“It’s good to be here to do this,” said Wilcox. “This is, I think, our fourth year in a row that we’ve done a bit of music to help out with this walk.”
Barb Konrad thought the event went very well and said the weather was great, too.
Konrad thanked the community supporters who helped to make the event possible and donated door prizes, too. Those supporters included Timber Mart, Gopher Rentals, Central GM, Donex Pharmacy, Exeter Sports, Ace Hardware, Integra Tire, Save-On-Foods, Tim Hortons, Reimer Productions, Sunrise Ford and Century Hardware.