Brantford – On September 10, Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario put on an event called Walk-It for Parkinson’s. The event took place at Mohawk Park to help raise awareness for Parkinson’s disease.

This event allowed anyone and everyone to come out to support people who live have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. It was also a great way for community members to have a chance to be physically active.

“We handed out pedometers to every participant,” said Steve Hickson, the Coordinator of special event for Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario. “We really want to promote exercise, because exercise really helps with the pain of people with Parkinson’s [have]. So we thought ‘Hey if we can hand out pedometers and get people thinking about exercise and starting setting daily goals for themselves, that way we are keeping the Parkinson’s community active.”

Parkinson’s is the result of nerve cells dying in a specific part of the brain called the substantia nigra, reducing levels of dopamine. This causes motor skills to become reduced or uncontrollable. It can also cause restless sleeping, unstable balance, and postural issues among many other symptoms.

According to the Media Kit given by Walk-It for Parkinson’s, approximately 10,000 people are living, in Southwestern Ontario, with Parkinson’s disease. Most individuals start showing symptoms of the disease at age 55 but about ten percent start at age 40.

Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder (after Alzheimer’s disease), according to the media kit given by Parkinson Society Southern Ontario.

This event took place in Mohawk Park so that participants were able to choose from a few different paths that ranged from approximately two kilometres to five kilometres. Individuals could walk any of the paths or turn around halfway and return to the start. This event was meant to be a fun walk to get people moving and raise awareness for a good cause.

“Registration started at 1[p.m.] and the walk started just after two,” said Hickson.

Super Walk also runs events for Parkinson’s awareness, but this is the first appearance of Walk-It. “The first year for this particular event, but we’ve been having walk events in this area for many years now,” said Hickson.

Hickson explained that there was a regional goal of 1,000,000 steps over the 13 different events across the region or Southwestern Ontario. The steps reached by participants at the Mohawk location was 73,200.

The volunteer committee is trying to expand for next year to make more things available. “We are looking to expand the committee next year, the volunteer organizing committee and if we can do that then maybe we can add more activities and maybe some local speakers who are involved in Parkinsons research and things like that,” said Hickson.

The regional fundraising goal that Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario set up for was $400,000. Hickson stated that they had not yet reached the goal but were hoping to by the end of the last two events on Sunday, September 18.

The organization tries to find sponsorship for the events they put on as well as ask the participants to donate.

Approximately 70 people showed up to the event at Mohawk Park. The weather was gloomy that day so the organization was pleased with the turnout.

If you are looking to donate next year or any time during the year you can log onto www.Walk-It.ca and pick a team to donate or donate to the cause in general.