It started with a tremour in one of her fingers.
Audrey Cerny new something was wrong.
Suspecting that it might be Parkinson’s disease, she went to her family doctor, who told her that if she wasn’t making a motion with your fingers like rolling cigarettes, then she didn’t have the disease.
But Cerny’s symptoms worsened.
She went back to her doctor and insisted on seeing a neurologist.
The first neurologist she went to told her to come back in a few years.
The second neurologist she saw was a specialist in Parkinson’s at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. That doctor diagnosed Cerny right away, sending her immediately for an MRI scan of her head and throat to rule out any tumours.
Medical staff also took 12 viles of her blood to rule out anything else.
At the time, Cerny didn’t really know what Parkinson’s disease was.
“The only person I associated it with was with Michael J. Fox,” said the 55-year-old Port Coquitlam native who was diagnosed in 2015.
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s disease.
More than 13,000 people in B.C. have been diagnosed with the disease and the number of Canadians over 40 living with the disease is expected to rise 65 per cent by 2031.
“I was panicked, scared, thinking my life was over. Luckily, the doctor had given me some brochures from the Parkinson’s Society of B.C.” she said.
The day of her diagnosis, Cerny went back to work, telling nobody about her recent tests or the results.
The following day, she headed to the Parkinson’s Society of B.C., where she met a woman named Miriam and she started to cry.
“I hadn’t told my parents and I wanted to get some brochures and some information about it before I actually sat down [with them],” said Cerny, adding that the society given her needed emotional support.
The tremours spread from one finger to a few, then to a hand, to her arm, to her leg.
Now she has tremours down her left side. Her left foot drags a little bit sometimes and she has trouble sleeping because of her restless leg, which wants to keep moving continuously.
She can’t get in a good position to sleep.
She has to see her neurologist every six months and takes medication four times a day.
Cerny will be taking park in the Parkinson’s SuperWalk in Pitt Meadows on Saturday.
This will be the third walk for Cerny, who is hoping to raise funds for people to be able to get the support that she was able to get.
“I’ve met so many people who are so much farther along than I am and they are unable to walk, unable to hardly speak.
“So if I can do anything to raise funds to help them also and myself, that’s what I am trying to do,” said Cerny.
She also wants other people with Parkinson’s to know they should never give up hope.
“When I was first diagnosed, I went around everywhere thinking,’Oh my gosh, is this the last time I am going to be doing this.’ Then slowly, as I came to terms with it, I realized, ‘No, I’ve still got a whole life to live.’”
More than 20 communities across the province will be taking part in the Parkinson’s SuperWalk.
The society’s goal is to raise $460,000 for programs, support services, advocacy efforts and research.
So far, $180,897 has been raised online.
The Pitt Meadows SuperWalk takes place on Saturday, Sept. 9 at Spirit Square, 12027 Harris Road, behind the community centre.
Registration is at 9:30 a.m. and the walk takes place at 11 a.m..
There are three different routes around the square for those with mobility issues.
For all others, there will be a 1.5-kilometre, 2.5-km and 3-km route.