Providing research and resources one step at a time
For Krucker clan, Parkinson SuperWalk is a family affair
When Mary Krucker held her dear husband’s hand in hers, she knew the road ahead would be a long one.
Ten years ago, both Mary and her husband were skeptical about a neurologist’s diagnosis that Ed had Parkinson’s disease.
“But I took his hand, and I knew. I could feel the little tremble,” said Mary.
After 56 years of marriage, Ed passed away in March at the age of 81. Mary said a tearful goodbye to the man who had shared her life for more than half a century. But along with sadness, the devoted wife and mother was grateful her husband had found peace.
“Our faith in Jesus Christ is so relevant to us that I was grateful for his sake and also relieved because your whole life ends up being consumed by Parkinson’s,” said Mary.
“It affected Ed’s balance, his walk and how he felt about himself. It was difficult to get him to walk up to the corner. He felt frustrated because you lose control of the things, all the little things, that you’ve always done without thinking.”
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. Early in the course of the disease, the most obvious symptoms are related to movement and include shaking, rigidity, slowness and difficulty walking.
Shortly after Ed was diagnosed with the disease, Mary joined the local chapter of Parkinson Society Canada.
“I became part of the society and volunteered to go on committees because I wanted to know and understand what to expect,” she said.
Mary said meetings held twice a month — one featuring a guest speaker; the other dedicated to providing support — were helpful in understanding the disease and its affects on her husband, as well as providing an outlet for her own emotions.
“The disease affects different people in different ways,” said Mary. “Not everybody has the same symptoms, and some physical problems come out of the blue. It’s quite scary because you lose control. You face a life that’s not your own anymore.”
Now a hale and hearty 81-year-old, Mary will be among the walkers who travel the tree-lined streets around Gage Park on Sunday, Sept. 8, as part of the Parkinson SuperWalk. The event is the largest national fundraising event for Parkinson Society Canada and its regional partners. Some 14,000 participants from coast-to-coast organize and take part in the walk that last year raised $3.24 million.
Mary, Ed and their family of three adult children, their spouses and eight grandchildren ranging in age from 13 to 24 got involved with the walk more than eight years ago.
In 2012, the walk funded 28 research projects and provided resources for education, advocacy and support services to the more than 100,000 Canadians living with the debilitating disease and their families.
For Mary and the Krucker clan, SuperWalk has become a special family occasion, with everyone gathering for a barbecue after the walk.
SuperWalk takes place at St. Peter’s Hospital, 88 Maplewood Ave., Hamilton. Registration is at 1 p.m., with the walk beginning at 2 p.m. Support the Parkinson’s community by walking, sponsoring a walker or donating. Visit www.parkinsonsuperwalk.ca for more details.