Our National Hero Contest celebrates Everyday Heroes whose Extraordinary Hope fuels SuperWalk in communities across Canada.
2019/20 National Hero
New Glasgow, Nova Scotia
From Margaret Milne, one of several who nominated Josephine
I’d like to tell you a bit about my friend, my inspiration, Josephine. Despite losing her husband Gordon to Parkinson’s in 2005, Josephine has remained extremely active in the community. Since 2003, she’d been leading our local chapter and support group.
Selflessly working to improve the lives of people going through the pain and struggle of Parkinson’s disease, Josephine has always been on call 24/7. A big hearted volunteer, she has led efforts with the Pictou/New Glasgow Chapter of Parkinson Canada since 2003, despite losing her husband Gordon to Parkinson’s in 2005.
Josephine’s reputation for hard work and dedication is well known in the community and within the group. Members, past and present, know that her advice, guidance and concern are always just a telephone call away. Moreover, each year she personally raises a significant proportion of funds at the annual Pictou/New Glasgow SuperWalk event.
In short, Josephine is the heart of our support group. She has been an inspiration to me, to all of us in the group, and inspires be there for one another, just as she has always done.
This year, I hope you’ll consider doing something for someone, or maybe even for yourself, and choose to support or participate in SuperWalk this September.
Pat Evans, our 2018 National Hero stands up to her diagnosis and for her community... No Matter What!
She was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s 12 years ago; when her movement disorders specialist who matter-of-factly announced, “You’ve got Parkinson’s”. Up to that point in life, Pat had worn many hats— social worker, mother, wife, activist, constituency assistant, friend and volunteer.
She learned to manage her Parkinson’s diagnosis with the same level of energy and commitment she brings to all these roles. Get the facts, don’t settle. Make it happen, no matter what. With a skilled medical team, healthy life choices, a supportive husband, and a purposeful exercise routine, Pat Evans is challenging Parkinson’s every step of the way.
After relocating to eastern Ontario, she realized that resources for people with Parkinson’s in certain rural communities were either not readily available or accessible for a variety of reasons. For folks in Lanark and Leeds counties, this was about to change. Pat approaches these challenges with the same logical, motivated approach she brings to managing her Parkinson’s symptoms. To her credit, with passion and staff support from Parkinson Canada, she has created a new support group and worked to establish community exercise programs.
To Gayle Truman she is a hero. Gayle who nominated Pat for the SuperWalk National Hero Award wrote, "through Pat’s attitude and example, I came to realize that there is life after Parkinson’s."
Read more stories below!
We thank Roger Sands of Arranel Studios for providing photo and video footage of our Lanark North Leeds walk, and our 2018 National Hero Pat Evans.
Ardyce Glessing, our 2017 National Hero has been living with Parkinson's for 10 years
She has not let her diagnosis change her relationship with family, however. The Wadena, Saskatchewan grandmother is active in the lives of her grandchildren and provides support for her 97 year old mother as well. She reflects, "[w]hen someone has Parkinson’s the whole family and everyone who loves them does too. I did not really know anything about it until being diagnosed July 7th, 2008, a day that will always be etched in my mind."
Like many Everyday Heroes, Ardyce brings a No Matter What attitude to living well with Parkinson's. "Some days doing the best we can will fall short of what we would like to do. We must not dwell on what we can't do and be thankful for what we can. You may see me struggle but you will never see me quit, we must keep going! To me, that is the key to living well with Parkinson’s.
Emotional support is one of the most important things that my friends and family give me. They give me strength by being there for me, and by showing their support through Parkinson SuperWalk".
Research Hero - Jacob Aguirre
Aguirre is building off the work of former Parkinson Canada Research Program grant recipients. "Our hope is that if we can get a firm understanding of Parkin’s atomic structure, that this can provide clues into its function in the cell and why these mutations are causing dysfunction for this protein, resulting in disease," he says. "We’re hoping that we can use a rational drug design method to come up with small molecules or drugs that might activate this protein."
Volunteer Hero - Jamie Fobert
Diagnosed at 40, Jamie Fobert is a father and new husband. He's also the co-leader of our Belleville Parkinson SuperWalk. He shares, "Fighting back became just a part of me. There are 100,000 Canadians that are living with Parkinson's. They need help. This is your fight, but you are not alone."
He knows the value of a volunteer driven support group first hand, and of giving back in his community. That's why Jamie volunteers. Read more
Caregiver Hero - Joyce Barretto
Joyce and her whole family are active in supporting her 92 year old mother Lena.
"For us as a family, it was the mobility issues. But, being a bunch of Type A's we started researching. It is interesting once you have a diagnosis, how many people you will come across that also have the same. As a family, we knew that she was going to fight because that's what she did. She's got backbone, and she's got determination. And we are here for her along the way." Hear more