Facing Parkinson's Disease head on

By Tanya Cronin
September 6, 2018 - 4:51pm Updated: September 6, 2018 - 5:29pm

KAMLOOPS — This weekend, thousands of people from coast to coast will stand up again Parkinson's Disease. In Kamloops, people will gather Saturday, to raise awareness and funds, through the annual Parkinson Superwalk. Parkinson's is a complex brain disease and everyone's journey with the disease, is different. The symptoms can be treated with medication, and many live with Parkinson's for years. But right now, there is still no cure. One Kamloops woman living with Parkinson's, is facing the challenge head on. 

When people think of Parkinson's, tremors come to mind. But that's not always the case, and when you see Glennis Davidson-White playing a casual game of cards with her husband, you would never know she's living with the degenerative disease.

"Progression for me hasn't been too fast, I don't have the shaky limbs at all, so I'm very grateful for that," says Davidson-White.

Diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease almost 5 years ago, this once fast paced, busy woman has slowed down significantly. Glennis has restricted mobility, and over the years, has been forced to forego daily activities that many take for granted.

"I lost my balance that's the main thing with me, I have to hold onto the walker, you try to put one leg in your pants and not fall over is always a challenge, but getting dressed is probably the longest, I'm very slow at everything I do now, I used to be one of these people that zipped around and got everything done."

Prior to diagnosis, the signs were there. But it wasn't until the couple were in California, that Bryan noticed the biggest change in his wife.

"Glennis was dragging her left foot and kind of hunched over, and we weren't sure if it was a stroke or what it was, so when we got back here went to the doctor and got referred to a neurologist, and that's when they diagnosed us, it was Parkinson's," says White.

Glennis and Bryan consider themselves avid travellers, and have always enjoyed hitting the road in their fifth-wheel. They're proud to say they've crossed the country, visiting every province and territory in all of Canada. But since diagnosis that fast-paced lifestyle now looks a little different.

"We got rid of the trailer, and have to travel motel to motel, whatever it might be the best way to do it, that's changed our lifestyles a little bit, but we're so happy we could do it when we could," says White.

Parkinson's disease is a neurological disorder that affects the central nervous system. Knowledge of the disease through the annual Parkinson Superwalk taking place this weekend - is critical to raising funds, easing the burden and one day finding a cure. 

"It's challenging because that's not what you expect to happen in your day to day life, but there's people far worse off," says White.

While Parkinson's makes for challenges, and life is somewhat of a new normal, Glennis and Bryan are living it to the fullest no matter what. 

"You don't have much choice, I'd like to not have Parkinson's, just gradually accept it bit by bit, I'm not going to let it rule my wife, I'm the boss," says Davidson-White.

The Kamloops Parkinson Superwalk takes place Saturday September 8th at 10am at Riverside Park. For more information and to donate - visit www.parkinson.bc.ca




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