Going the distance for Parkinson’s … and then some
Dana Sellars of Carbonear is proud of her accomplishment. And with good reason.
She went the distance in this year’s annual Parkinson SuperWalk … and then some.
“ This year I decided to take this walk a few steps further,” she told The Compass last week.
There’s a very special reason why she committed herself to walk the additional 31 kilometres: “My Dad is my inspiration.”
Sixty-eight-year-old John Gillingham was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 11 years ago.
“ The last couple of years have been very trying. Parkinson’s has taken its toll. The disease has affected my family tremendously. I wanted to push it a bit forward because I really want to see a cure,” Dana said.
In June, her father travelled to Halifax, becoming one of the first people in the area to undergo deep brain stimulation surgery. During the procedure, a brain pacemaker is implanted, sending electrical impulses to specific parts of the brain.
Six weeks later, he returned to Halifax to have the stimulator turned on.
“He has improved a little, and the doctor says we should see more improvement in the days and months to come,” Dana said.
On Sept. 14, he made another trip to Halifax for adjustments to the device.
While she trained for her walk, Dana kept telling herself, “I’m going to do this.”
Accompanied by family and friends, she left Ochre Pit Cove, her father’s hometown, early on Sept. 11.
the Dana’s husband, Peter, followed her in a vehicle.
“My six-year-old daughter, Rebecca, walked most of the distance with me,” Dana said with obvious pride.
At Persalvic High School in Victoria, the family was proudly greeted by Dana’s parents.
On Sunday morning, Dana’s continued her walk in the rain. She was escorted by the Victoria Fire Department.
At the top of the Ridge in Victoria, the convoy was joined by Sam Slade, mayor of Carbonear and, later, the Carbonear Fire Department.
To Dana’s delight, her father was well enough to walk with her from the overpass to the Lions Club.
“It was indeed a proud moment,” Dana recalled.
Dana then met up with Parkinson SuperWalkers.
The walk raised a little over $1,000.
While the money is a blessing for Parkinson research, Dana also wanted to raise awareness about the disease.
“I think the public needs to know more about it,” she said. “It’s through walks and fundraisers such as these that these surgeries are offered and, in the end, we can only pray a cure can be found.”