The Parkinson Association of Alberta wants Lloydminster residents to get creative as they launch a virtual version of the Flexxaire Step ‘n Stride walk.
The virtual walk will continue the main goal of raising awareness of Parkinson disease and money for research and services helping those living with the disease. Usually the walk would be hosted at the Bud Miller All Season Park, but for the eighth year of the event, the association will be going to an online format and invite people to join in and walk at their own pace.
Sherry Bower-Gagne, a client services coordinator with the association, says the new format is exciting as it allows more people to take part in the walk. She adds people will also be able to register as a group with members across the province and still be able to walk together.
“They’ll be able to share their pictures and their videos, so we can broadcast that all over Alberta to show how supportive and how much fun everybody’s having.”
Parkinson’s disease is a long term disorder of the Central Nervous system that affects a person’s motor functions. Bower-Gagne says it’s important for those with the disease to exercise and move around as it helps reduce the symptoms.
Like many, people living with Parkinson’s have had to limit their trips outside during the early stages of the pandemic. In response, the association adapted their services to stay in touch with clients either through Zoom meetings or over the phone.
“They struggle with isolation and depression. So, we really needed to make sure that’s where our services are really important. We need to be able to reach those people who are in isolation and provide hope, encouragement and keep them connected.”
Bower-Gagne mentions, outside of their one-on-one services, many of their tools are available on their website.
“The Step ‘n Stride is really a huge event that provides the funds that make all of those services and provide the educational advocacy and the research pieces too. Those funds are essential.”
Due to the circumstances surrounding COVID, the association has lowered their goal from previous years and hopes to raise $250,000. When registering for the event, Lloydminster residents can also specify that their donation go towards the Lloydminster region, keeping the funding local.
Ahead of the walk, the association will be holding weekly workouts starting August 1st. Those who participate in all six of the workouts will be entered into a draw to win a flight for two anywhere with WestJet.
The event is scheduled for September 12th and registration is open.