Bag-pipers lead walkers in the first annual Parkinson SuperWalk last year. This year's super walk takes place on Saturday

Living with Parkinson’s disease

Sukhi Rai's problems began with a slight pain in his left ankle.

Sukhi Rai’s problems began with a slight pain in his left ankle.

Rai, a Victoria resident, was an avid runner, often running as much as 32 kilometres a week, in preparation for several 10 and 15 km races.

However, during his training runs, his toes would cramp up in his shoe and he felt like he had no control over his entire left leg from his hip down to his ankle.

After his ankle began dragging, Rai went to a number of physiotherapists and sports doctors, who were unable to find out what was wrong with him.

However, between 2005 and 2010, his physical health began to deteriorate. Rai found it increasingly difficult to do small tasks, such as tying a tie. Multi-tasking became difficult, his writing got smaller and closer together and his speech became more shallow.

In one incident, Rai, who worked as a financial advisor, was told by his manager that a client complained he moved too much during a meeting. That was his first indication that this was more than a running injury or physical problem.

After being referred to a neurologist, Rai was eventually diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects one’s movement.

“I knew something was wrong. It was a relief that it wasn’t just something that was in my head,” said the now 56-year-old. “It was more relief than shock.”

At the time of the diagnosis, Rai admits he didn’t know much about the disease, other than the fact that Canadian actor Michael J. Fox suffered from it.

His first contact was with Headway, a local epilepsy and Parkinson’s centre, which helped him come to grips with his disease. Then he received help from Parkinson Society B.C., a non-profit organization that provides services and programs for people battling the disease, attending symposiums featuring people suffering from the disease, and joining support and exercise groups.

Since being diagnosed five years ago, he hasn’t let the disease slow him down.

Three times a week, Rai attends an exercise group that specializes in exercises for people with Parkinson’s. He also continues to dance, something he enjoys doing with his wife.

“It doesn’t mean we have to be shut in, it just means we have to pace ourselves, that you only have so much energy to give in a day,” said Rai, adding he’s had to re-adjust to the fast-paced world of computers and technology.

“I’m still able to read. If I can’t read as fast, I listen to podcasts or the radio. It’s about making adjustments.”

Rai is one of dozens of participants who will be participating in the second annual Parkinson SuperWalk in Esquimalt this weekend.

The province-wide walk is a fundraiser for Parkinson Society B.C. and helps raise awareness of the disease. Last year’s local walk drew around 100 people and helped raise roughly $20,000 to go towards programs and services for people with Parkinson’s.

“It’s a chance for celebrating lives being well-lived with the disease,” said Parkinson Society B.C. CEO Jean Blake, adding this is the society’s largest fundraiser of the year. “It’s a way for people to come together and show that we can fight back against this disease.”

The two-kilometre Parkinson SuperWalk takes place on Saturday, Sept. 10 around Esquimalt Gorge Park. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the walk begins at 10 a.m.

According to Blake, there were approximately 800 people in Greater Victoria living with the disease, and 2,559 people on Vancouver Island in 2013.

 

 

Just Posted

More than 30 cars get tires slashed in Oaklands neighbourhood

VicPD are asking for help from witnesses to the incidents

Working with offenders: a look at Correctional Service Canada

CSC is one of many vendors featured at the upcoming Black Press Extreme Education and Career Fair

Women in Business: Artist Sierra Lundy answers your questions

Black Press Media celebrates women who are making a difference

The Amazing Race host brings pizza fundraiser to Victoria

Host of The Amazing Race & 2010 Olympic Gold Medalist, Jon Montgomery, to host Pizza Pigout.

Matt Mays ready to howl into the Victoria night

Veteran Juno-winning rocker combines upbeat and mellower material for Oct. 22 show

VIDEO: Greater Victoria, here’s the news you missed this weekend

Camera licker, wind gusts and rare bird make headlines this weekend

Alcohol a possible factor in crash that killed 17-year-old girl near Williams Lake

A pickup truck left the road and rolled over on Highway 20 on the weekend

B.C. woman must pay $1,000 after unleashed dog bites another

Owner should never have left Bibi unattended, tribunal member wrote

Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s mural defaced in Edmonton

The eyes on the portrait were blacked out

App designed to help cut waste and grocery bills

Food security advocates say addressing poverty is ultimate key

Report suggests new BC Ferries terminal near YVR

Metro Vancouver currently has two ferry terminals at northern and southern reaches

B.C. scouting group’s tent destroyed by black bear on Thanksgiving

The Richmond-based Sea Dragon Sea Scouts were camping at Mount Seymour Provincial Park

BC Ferries crew member taken to hospital after getting struck by bow doors

Two sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay were cancelled

Most Read