September 23, 2013
by Timothy W. Scee II
Special to Newzjunky.com http://www.newzjunky.com/news2013/0923parkinsons_walk.htm
WATERTOWN, N.Y. —
A new coalition aiming to spread awareness about Parkinson’s Disease and other movement disorders is taking its message to the community Saturday with its second annual awareness walk.
Members of the North Country Coalition for Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders, a 501(c)(3) organization founded last fall, said pledging walkers this year will follow either a 1.5-mile or 3-mile route along the village’s two-year-old recreational walking trails.
Coalition founder Norman F. Hunneyman, who was diagnosed with the neurological disorder three years ago, said the purpose of the walk is to raise enough funds for local individuals affected by Parkinson’s and related disorders to obtain more information about what is available to them.
“With this walk, really want to be able to have the resources to reach out to folks that were maybe recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s or other illnesses and provide the education about the innovations,” Mr. Hunneyman said.
In April, the coalition used funds raised from its September walk to invite surgical neurophysiologist Michael E. Hopkins, of Philadelphia, Pa., to speak about living with the disorder at St. Andrew’s Church, 12 E. Main St.
“We had over 60 individuals there and he did a PowerPoint presentation with a background on Parkinson’s and its research,” Mr. Hunneyman said. “He fit right in very nicely and that gave us a lot of momentum.”
With nearly $3,000 raised last year, the coalition founder is hopeful Saturday’s event will draw enough walkers to raise enough funds to provide another free seminar next April, in honor of National Parkinson’s Awareness Month.
Through education, such as that the coalition aims to provide, Mr. Hunneyman eventually was able to learn more about the disorder which he said affects simple things he was able to do before being diagnosed.
After experiencing symptoms including issues with his voice, leg pains, problems with his hands and loss of strength and energy, the village resident went through two or three months of testing before his diagnosis.
“You have to have a good, positive attitude,” Mr. Hunneyman said. “It’s very important to, once you get the diagnosis, reach out and keep your mind active and work on your quality of life by things like staying involved in the community.”
Although he says it is more difficult to do some household chores than before his diagnosis, Mr. Hunneyman stays active through his involvement in community organizations and his parish, St. Andrew’s Church, to which he and wife Janet P. belong.
“What’s important is to have a good team,” he said.