Over 100,000 Canadians are living with Parkinson's disease and they want the Canadian public to know just how difficult that is – how everything is harder when your body turns against you.
Whether it is walking, eating or getting dressed, everything takes more time, more planning and causes more frustration. This debilitating disease robs individuals of their careers. It takes away their freedom. It deprives them of their dignity and turns their family life upside down.
"I used to be a high school language teacher," says Yvon Trepanier, diagnosed with Parkinson’s at 47. "When my students could no longer read what I wrote on the blackboard, I had to give up what I loved," says the 54-year-old. "That part of me is dead now, so I have had to mourn the loss and reinvent myself as a person."
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects over 100,000 Canadians. The most common symptoms are tremor, slowness, balance problems and muscle rigidity. The average age of onset is 60, but it can affect people as young as 30 or 40.
"Parkinson's is not just your grandparents’ disease," says Stephanie Ossanna, diagnosed with Parkinson's disease at 35. "Parkinson's has a younger face and the struggles are much different. It's harder to be a mother, it's harder to cope with work and it's so hard to deal with the uncertainty of the future," she added.
"Our goal is to find the cause and cure for Parkinson's in the shortest possible time," says Parkinson Society Canada President and CEO, Joyce Gordon.
Parkinson Society Canada (PSC) is the national voice of people living with Parkinson's in Canada. With 12 regional partners, there are over 230 support groups and chapters to provide support and education to Canadians with Parkinson's. PSC funds research, support, education and advocacy initiatives to ensure a better life and a brighter future for people living with Parkinson's.
To find out more about Parkinson's disease or Parkinson Society Canada, call 1-800-565-3000 or visit www.parkinson.ca