White Rock resident brings SuperWalk back to town, raising awareness of disease

White Rock’s Parkinson’s SuperWalk will return next month, with the group’s creator reminding the town how crucial it is to raise awareness of the disease and funds to help fight it.

Liz Holroyd started the White Rock Walk after going through “a really scary time” after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2010.

Along with her husband Scott, Holroyd began participating in several walks in Langley, but they wanted to start one in their own community to involve the town in the campaign.

The full in-person Superwalk had to be suspended due to social distancing measures during the pandemic. After going virtual last year, the life-size event is back in September for the first time since 2019.

Holroyd is thrilled to bring the walk back, hoping to also inspire others to think about Parkinson Society BC when considering making a donation.

“When you don’t meet in person, you don’t have the same bond. We still had significant contributions, but that dropped,” she said.

Parkinson Society BC helps people with Parkinson’s access resources, find out how their lives will be changed, teach families how to better support loved ones with Parkinson’s and more.

Parkinson’s disease is the fastest growing neurological disorder, with cases increasing steadily every year.

Funds raised through the campaign will help the Society continue to provide these services and support research to one day find a cure.

Although symptoms of the disease usually begin when a person is in their 60s, it is possible for it to strike early, resulting in early-onset Parkinson’s disease.

“When I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2010, the first place I went was to the Parkinson Society to fully understand what was in store for me now,” Holroyd said.

“It’s a real snowball when you’re diagnosed with a chronic illness and at first you don’t know, ‘Wow, what’s this going to mean for me?’ You know, I was working.

After visiting the organization, Holroyd was able to meet other people with the same condition as her, who found a community with each other.

“It’s pretty good because we all understand the things that we feel,” she said.

One of the few forms of treatment for people with Parkinson’s disease is drug therapy involving the drug, levodopa, which is converted into dopamine in the brain. This combats the loss of dopamine associated with Parkinson’s disease.

For some, levodopa works wonders, but for others the side effects may be too strong for them to see the benefits, Holroyd said.

“I had a really bad tremor on my right side and when I took the Levodopa… it took me a while to get there because it’s a bit nerve wracking to go… When I took it , within 48 hours, it completely masked my tremor.

Holroyd is experiencing some side effects from the treatment, but they are manageable, she said. Her biggest symptom of Parkinson’s is fatigue, saying she “can fall asleep in the middle of a conversation”.

For this year’s SuperWalk, Holroyd seeks to capture the attention and appreciation of care partners for people with Parkinson’s. From her own experience, Holroyd said she couldn’t have gone through the doctor’s appointments, the treatment and everything in between without her husband Scott being with her every step of the way.

The White Rock Parkinson SuperWalk is scheduled for September 11, with registration at 9 a.m. and the walk starting at 10 a.m. City of White Rock Coun. Dave Chesney will be the master of ceremonies for the event. To view the walk route or make a donation, visit parkinson.bc.ca/superwalk and contact Liz Holroyd for local inquiries at 604-317-9599.

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