Go­ing the dis­tance for Parkin­son’s … and then some

The Compass - - TRINITY SOUTH - BY BUR­TON K. JANES

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.”

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