Diana Shelestynsky’s Story

Diana Shelestynsky – Stratford and Area

When most people hear their family member has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, they have no idea what to do to support that member. Everyone wants to help, but no one is sure where to start.

As a nurse, Diana Shelestynsky of Stratford had a lot of experience to pull from when her husband, Gene Shelestynsky, was diagnosed 6 years ago. She knew that she would play a very important role in supporting him every day. “The course of this disease is a difficult journey,” Diana explained. “It affects people in many different ways.”

Diana and Gene are both retired, so they have adjusted well to the change of pace. While most days are good, Gene struggles the most with walking, and becomes tired very quickly. They joined the Stratford support group to connect with others about different ways to cope with the disease. They find it reassuring to know that when they got frustrated or lost, they always had someone to turn to.

As the need for awareness in their community grew, Diana and Gene decided to participate in their local walk in 2013. Diana also joined the volunteer committee for WALK-IT for Parkinson’s in Stratford and has been in charge of the event’s Silent Auction ever since. “I have been kept very busy soliciting the local businesses for donations. It is time consuming, but it is a great way to get the support we so badly need,” expressed Diana.

WALK-IT for Parkinson’s is important to Diana because it’s a good way to make the community aware of the demands of Parkinson’s, the need for a cure, and about all of the local support available to those in need. “Finding a cure is what we all dream of, and just being involved with the people who are suffering from Parkinson’s is a reminder that no one is immune to developing this disease,” said Diana.

Diana enjoys being a part of the success of Stratford’s WALK-IT for Parkinson’s each year; she sees that the families and friends that participate to support a loved one with Parkinson’s enjoy the music, the fun and each other’s company. Gene participates in the event by serving all the participants at the barbecue lunch.

Through their involvement with Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario, Gene knows that he is not alone in his struggle, and both Diana and Gene have found a way to support the services that they and so many others rely on. They also believe that giving back includes participating in research studies for Parkinson’s disease.

About WALK-IT for Parkinson’s

WALK-IT for Parkinson’s will take place on September 9, 2017 at Upper Queen’s Park in Stratford. Visit www.walk-it.ca to register and to find more information about Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario.