Parkinson’s disease walk aids those with neurodegenerative disorder with programs

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Laura Lampkin was training for a half-marathon when her coach realized she wasn’t swinging her right arm and was sluggish on her right side.

Parkinson’s disease was the last thing she suspected.

“I knew that I was dragging my leg, and my body was sore, but I thought I was just overtraining. You don’t think, ‘I have Parkinson’s,’ ” she said.

“It kind of blindsided me.”

Lampkin was only 41 years old when she was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disorder – which causes tremors, slowed movements and non-motor issues like depression and memory loss.

Three and a half years after her diagnosis, Lampkin will be hitting her stride Saturday at London’s Walk-It for Parkinson’s fundraiser at Springbank Gardens. More than 350 have signed up for the local walk, one of 14 happening throughout Southwestern Ontario this month.

“It’s a really great event. It’s really a friendly and welcoming group,” she said.

Through all its events, the Parkinson Society of Southwestern Ontario is hoping to raise $400,000 to support its programs across the region. London’s walk will include a silent auction, children’s area and pizza lunch, said Lampkin.

When she’s not volunteering with the Walk-It for Parkinson’s event, Lampkin is hitting the boxing ring. She’s a regular at the Rock Steady boxing program in London, an initiative specifically for Parkinson’s patients.

“Everyone (in the program) has Parkinson’s, so you don’t feel embarrassed if your hand is trembling or you’re moving slowly that day,” she said.

“It’s non-contact (with other boxers), but there’s something satisfying about hitting something . . . It’s a lot of fun.”

— — —


What: Walk-it for Parkinson’s London

When: Saturday

Time: Registration 10:30 a.m., walk begins at 11:30 a.m.

Where: Springbank Gardens, 285 Wonderland Rd. S.

More information:

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