Philip Konrad can’t wait for the 2022 South Cariboo Parkinson’s SuperWalk.
The year marks the fifth year he’s organized the walk around Centennial Park, which raises money and awareness for Parkinson’s disease research. Living with the disease every day makes the cause especially close to Konrad’s heart.
“It’s all about raising awareness and doing a bit of fundraising,” Konrad said. “There’s probably about 20 different walks in B.C. on the same day and I think we’re probably the smallest community to have it. There’s a lot of larger communities who don’t have it.”
The walk is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Sept. 10 and kicks off at 12:30 p.m. with music by the Even Keel Band & Friends. On-day registration takes place at 1 p.m. in the shady area just off of the parking lot, followed by the walk itself at 1:30 p.m. Konrad is hoping they exceed their previous record of 60 participants.
Konrad said they still have t-shirts, capes and bandannas left over from previous years for participants to wear. The walk itself only takes about 10 minutes and consists of a circle around Bridge Creek. Door prizes and snacks will be given out at the end of the event, Konrad said.
In addition to raising money, Konrad is hoping the event will connect him with new people in the community who have Parkinson’s. He’s the co-ordinator of the 100 Mile House Parkinson’s Support Group which is looking for new members after several have moved to Kamloops or passed away. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that primarily affects the parts of the brain that control movement, resulting in tremors, stiffness, and slowness. Konrad notes it is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s that has no cure.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are most commonly seen in people over the age of 50 but may begin under the age of 40, according to the Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s Society.
Konrad, who experiences uncontrollable body tremors and slowness of movement, said “everybody’s different” in how the disease progresses.
“As people get older their body parts break down,” Konrad said. “Some get worse a lot quicker than others.”
Active living is key to preventing degeneration, Konrad said and the SuperWalk helps promote and model that. Online registration and donations are being accepted now at donate.parkinson.ca.