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Facing a Difficult Challenge

Aug 21, 2019

Written by Ryan Charles Parker

Let us be honest: no one wants a diagnosis of Parkinson’s. But perfection is a thing that our world doesn’t deal in. It short-changes, disappoints and breaks us down. It can be hard, tough and cruel. That does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that we are utterly helpless. We can help ourselves. We can help others. Others can help us. There is no place too dark to dim the human spirit completely. And a diagnosis of Parkinson’s is such a place.

Parkinson’s disease is, according to Client Service Coordinator Courtney Ukrainetz for the Parkinson Association of Alberta, “a neuro-degenerative disease that affects the dopamine levels in the brain.” Some of its symptoms include, “tremors, other motor symptoms and trouble with walking. Then there are non-motor symptoms that are unseen by anyone else but felt by the person, such as depression, anxiety and cognition issues.”

Ukrainetz mentioned a few ways that a person diagnosed with Parkinson’s can help themselves. They include staying positive and keeping up with regular exercise, which can be difficult with the aforementioned symptoms of depression and anxiety which lend themselves to loss of motivation.

But people with Parkinson’s need help from other people. The obvious one is medication. That alone, however, does not provide the quality of life that is possible for those with Parkinson’s.

This is where Parkinson Association of Alberta can help. They offer many programs of support. To name a few, they offer personal and familial counselling. They offer support groups. They run education for audiences as diverse as post-secondary groups to the general public. Their website offers a myriad of free, downloadable information. They can direct those with Parkinson’s to community organizations outside of its scope that can help with any regular routines that may be difficult because of their disease. They even have a feature on their website for those concerned to ask questions and receive answers from qualified people.

Parkinson Association of Alberta does not operate in a vacuum. It relies, as Ukrainetz explains, “solely on donations, grants and fundraising efforts.”

The Association also relies heavily on volunteers. Volunteers help in many ways, from help with administration duties, to fundraising, to ensuring that events get off the ground and running properly, and running support groups, if they have experience caring for someone with Parkinson’s or are diagnosed with the disease and are coping well.

In the very near future, Parkinson Association of Alberta will be putting on an important event. It is called the Flexxaire Step ‘n Stride, and it takes place on Sunday, September 8th at the Golden Circle Seniors Center from 9 AM to 2PM. It is a walk to raise awareness and generate funds for the organization, the proceeds of which go directly to Parkinson’s research and to the Association to help with day-to-day and ongoing efforts that they are undertaking. The Red Deer event runs concurrent with 8 other walks and raised over $400,000 last year. The organization is hoping to beat last year’s mark. Let’s do it.

To find out more about the upcoming Step ‘n Stride and how you can help, visit its site:


To learn more about the Parkinson Association of Alberta, visit their site at:


Or call, toll-free: 1-800-561-1911


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