The Parkinson Canada SuperWalk in Swift Current generated another super total during their 2018 walk on Saturday, September 1.
This year the walk attracted approximately 160 participants, and they surpassed their fundraising total by collecting $16,500. Organizers were aiming to bring in $15,000, which would have been a slight increase from the $14,000 collected last year. Part of the reason for the increase was the success of a fundraising raffle which included a quilt made by local Parkinson Support Group member Carol Kuntz. This raffle made $1,180.
“It’s just an incredible turnout and incredible engagement,” explained Todd MacPherson, Parkinson Canada Managing Director, Saskatchewan.
As the fourth time a SuperWalk has been hosted in the Southwest, this year’s walk continued the upward growth of the event since it began in 2015.
“When they started it four years ago in Herbert, we were surprised that 40 some people came out,” McPherson recalled. “So when they moved it last year to Swift Current, we were excited, but we never expected the engagement and turnout.”
He credited the successful traction of SuperWalk to the efforts of the organizing committee and the dedicated team participants.
“It really comes from the teams, the committee members and the people that really get engaged with this as a big picture event.”
“The committee had their first meeting to plan this year right after the last walk,” he said. “They’ve been engaged in it all year.”
McPherson was also pleased to see Stride Physio lead the walkers through a pre-walk exercise program, an important tie in for individuals with Parkinsons.
“Exercise is such a critical piece for those living with Parkinsons Disease. It’s such a key thing to improving their quality of life. And really, staying active and engaged as long as possible fighting against the disease.”
But, most importantly, the financial support generated during the walk has a major impact in the fight against Parkinson’s.
“We invest a large chunk of course into research. As well as education and support services to everybody who is diagnosed across Canada. We provide support groups. We provide educational services for them. We also do education for healthcare professionals. And then we also are engaged in advocacy on a national and a provincial level where needs arise.”
SuperWalk, which was held during the Labour Day long weekend, did not have the atmosphere of a typical fundraiser.
“It’s a family thing. It is so much fun. It’s a great event. But it’s really just that feeling of a group of people coming together,” MacPherson said.
“One of the common things we hear from people diagnosed is this feels so much like love and support. It feels like family. Not just to have their own family there, to have their community gather around them and say ‘we’re here for you, we’re going to fundraise for you, and we want to see you live your best life possible with this disease.’”
Swift Current is the first Saskatchewan walk of September, with upcoming events in Estevan (Sept. 6), Moose Jaw (Sept. 8), Saskatoon (Sept. 9), and Regina (Sept. 15).
The Parkinson SuperWalk, which attracts approximately 100,000 walkers each year, is the largest annual fundraising event for Parkinson Canada. Last year Canadians donated $2.25 million.
An estimated 25 Canadians are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease every day. This total is projected to raise to 51 people a day by 2031.
Additional information about Parkinson Canada and the SuperWalk is available at www.parkinsonsuperwalk.ca.