Walk-It for Parkinson’s has become Walk the Block

SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO – COVID- 19 has affected how Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario will approach its annual fundraising event, Walk-It for Parkinson’s.

This year, the walk has a new name and a new approach – Walk the Block for Parkinson’s.

Participants will fundraise over the summer and then walk on Sept. 12 and 13 around their own blocks, homes or back yards. Proceeds stay local, supporting programming for over 10,000 people with Parkinson’s in Southwestern Ontario.

“You likely know someone with Parkinson’s disease (PD),” officials say.  “Twenty-five people are diagnosed in Canada every day.”

Primary symptoms include: tremors, rigidity, slow movement, postural instability and sleep disturbance. Many also experience depression, anxiety, dementia, memory problems and difficulty communicating.

Shelley Rivard, CEO of Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario, is excited to see the charity adapt.

“COVID-19 has changed our world as we know it, for the foreseeable future,” she said. “The most important thing now is that we still find a way to come together, not physically but in heart.”

To launch Walk the Block for Parkinson’s, Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario created the “Parkinson’s Freeze Challenge”, which launched July 1.

This is a social effort to spread awareness across all communities.

The challenge is to eat a frozen treat as quickly as possible – initiating the dreaded “brain freeze.” Why a brain freeze? One of the many symptoms of PD is freezing – a temporary episode where you have the inability to move.

So grab a popsicle, an ice cream sandwich, maybe a wet wipe too – and join the challenge this summer.

Walk the Block for Parkinson’s participants can register online now as an individual or a team, in preparation for the walk Sept. 12 and 13.

Online registrations and donations are encouraged, but the organization will be able to accept cash and cheques as well.

For more information, to register or to donate, go to www.walktheblock.ca.