Twelve years ago when Maple Ridge resident Wim Hunfeld was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he was stunned.
The 63-year-old grandfather of eight, and longtime landscaper who now babysits and grows produce just to keep his grandchildren healthy, said the news that his shaky pinky was indication of the disease was mind-numbing.
“It came as a surprise. It was not something running in my family,” he said.
Although devastated to hear the news, Hunfeld decided to take action. He knew he could not give in to the disease’s ability to incapacitate individuals.
Hunfeld jokes about the sort of patience Parkinson’s sufferers have to have to manage everyday activities.
“You’re a patient who has to have patience,” he says.
Defined as a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, Parkinson’s is reported to be more common in older people with most cases occurring after the age of 50.
Those who are diagnosed have usually experienced neuropsychiatric symptoms ranging from mild to severe.
Besides staying active in his day-to-day life, Hunfeld is an active participant in the national fundraising event called Parkinson SuperWalk.
Since 2010, he has taken part in the event, scheduled to take place this year on Sept. 6 at 11 a.m. at Spirit Square in Pitt Meadows.
Hunfeld, with a team of community supporters, has raised more than $10,000 since he began participating in SuperWalk, the largest national fundraising event for Parkinson’s disease.
This September, 110 communities across Canada will join the fight to find a cure.
Nationwide, the goal is to raise $3 million.
“I believe that finding a cure is close at hand,” says Hunfeld.
• Participants can register for the SuperWalk at parkinson.bc.ca.