Diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1995, Brenda became aware of her local Chatham Parkinson’s support group through a good friend. Hoping to gain some insight and learn more about what to expect with her recent diagnosis, Brenda made her first visit – and never looked back.
Brenda jumped right in. She helped with and spearheaded many of the activities and initiatives, not only with her own local group, but those that are also available through Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario (PSSO).
Brenda helps to organize and participates in the annual walk. She also assists with local bake sales, sells tickets at local malls, and volunteers her time at a local BBQ each year. Brenda often contacts members of the support group to remind them of their exercise class dates, and visits support group members when they unexpectedly have to spend time in the hospital.
But it’s not just PSSO that keeps Brenda busy. She supports her local soup kitchen, and also helps her fellow church members by re-writing hymn lyrics in a font large enough for those with declining vision to be able to read. This gives them the ability to actively participate in the weekly Sunday service.
Brenda is grateful for the friends she has made over the years through PSSO, and keeps in touch with as many as possible. The support group has been an invaluable experience for Brenda – from the people she’s met, the support she’s received to the knowledge she has gained through presentations and expert speakers from the support group meetings.
Brenda has been awarded both the 5 year and 10 year Parkinson’s volunteer pins – an achievement and a testament to her dedication and commitment to helping others. She stresses the importance of staying as involved as possible and plans to do so for years to come. “I’m doing important work – God’s work.”
Brenda also realizes the need to remain active. She attends three exercise classes a week and makes a point of walking every day. She believes that her commitment to regular exercise has been the driving force in slowing down the progression of her Parkinson’s. She also enjoys keeping her mind active. In the spare time she does have, she loves to curl up with good Christian fiction or work her way through crosswords and word search puzzles.
Brenda’s sister, Connie is also an active participant as a result of Brenda’s involvement. Connie participates in the walk every year, assists with catering and preparation at Parkinson’s luncheons and helps with carpooling Brenda and others who can no longer drive because of their Parkinson’s symptoms. Brenda’s twin sister, Sandy also helps out with transportation back and forth from Chatham to London when needed.
Brenda’s inspiration and drive come from her love of people and her ability to give back to them and the community. “I thank God every day that I am able to get up, get out, and help others. Now if I could just find time for that afternoon nap!”
About WALK-IT for Parkinson’s – Chatham
WALK-IT for Parkinson’s will take place on September 10th, 2017 at the Kingston Park in Chatham-Kent. Visit www.walk-it.ca to register and to find more information about Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario.