TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 04/25/13 -- Parkinson Society Canada celebrates the dedication, leadership and generosity of extraordinary volunteers who share its vision of a better life with a brighter future for Canadians living with Parkinson's disease. This year, three individuals are being recognized for their outstanding contributions to the Parkinson's community. A new award - the Spirit of Philanthropy - has been added to acknowledge outstanding volunteer leadership in raising funds for and awareness of Parkinson's disease in Canada.
"Volunteers play an important role in the work that we do coast to coast. They help us spread awareness for Parkinson's, raise funds for programs like research and education. They bring a wealth of life experiences to our organization and we are pleased to be able to extend our gratitude to these special individuals for all that they do for people with Parkinson's," says Parkinson Society Canada President and CEO Joyce Gordon.
The following recipients will receive their awards during presentations in their communities:
Mimi Feutl Award - Lucie Lachance, Montreal, Quebec
Lucie Lachance works as a Parkinson's Nurse Specialist at one of Canada's leading movement disorder clinics and serves as a member of Parkinson Society Canada's National Board. She has also been a key organizer for several research and educational events in Montreal. Lucie is compassionate and committed. She generously mentors other health professionals and involves multiple disciplines to ensure clients' needs are met. Lucie has been an expert resource to Parkinson Society Canada for many years. Lucie's colleagues endorsed her nomination for this award, citing numerous examples of her immeasurable contributions to individuals and families over the past decade.
"It's nice to receive a pat on the back. It makes me want to keep going. I'm happy about being recognized for sure," said Lucie.
David Simmonds Parkinson's Leadership Award - John Parkhurst, Tiny, Ontario
John Parkhurst's volunteer leadership began 20 years ago when his wife Margot Bartlett was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. He and his wife launched a support group in Midland, Ontario for people with Parkinson's, which still operates to this day. John became more involved with Parkinson Society Central & Northern Ontario in 2002 when Margot's health forced her to leave her position on the board.
"Margot has had Parkinson's for over 20 years. I think our family has been incredibly lucky. The quality of her life has been so good. At first, I wanted to advocate for my spouse. Then I quickly realized there are others who aren't getting the kind of care that they should to be independent. I feel I have to stay involved to make a difference," said John.
Spirit of Philanthropy Award - Nora Fischer, Toronto, Ontario
Nora, the first recipient of this award, is being recognized for her outstanding contributions both as a major supporter and as a volunteer for Parkinson Society Central & Northern Ontario, using her personal story to encourage others to donate and get involved as they can. Nora helped foster creativity in the Parkinson's community by funding the Hope On Display Calendar in 2012 and 2013, contributing her own artwork also. Nora brings her energy to many activities in the region, including participating in the annual Hope in Bloom tulip campaign and Parkinson SuperWalk.
"I have Parkinson's myself and I realize how tough it is. It can be a downhill battle, but I continue to have a good life. Parkinson Society Central & Northern Ontario has given me information on things I need to know. I hope to continue to assist them so they can help others to move forward," said Nora.
To learn more about the National Volunteer Award criteria and nomination process, visit www.parkinson.ca.
About Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's is a chronic degenerative neurological disease caused by a loss of dopamine in the brain. It affects over 100,000 Canadians. There is no cure. Symptoms include: resting tremor, slowness of movement, stiffness or rigidity of muscles, difficulty with balance and walking, changes in voice volume and speech, and difficulty with fine movements. Non-motor symptoms include depression, loss of sense of smell, sleep disturbances and cognitive changes. The average age of onset is 60, but it can affect people as young as 30 or 40.
Parkinson Society Canada is the national voice of Canadians living with Parkinson's. The National Research Program funds innovative research to test new ideas that are vital in the global search for better treatments and a cure. Since 1981, more than $21 million has been invested in over 400 research projects. From diagnosis to discovery Parkinson Society Canada is there at every point along the Parkinson's journey providing education, advocacy and support services to individuals and health care professionals. Since 1965, Parkinson Society Canada has been dedicated to improving the quality of life for Canadians. To volunteer or join Parkinson SuperWalk, visit www.parkinsonsuperwalk.ca. To find out more about Parkinson's disease programs and services available near you and to volunteer, call 1-800-565-3000 or visit www.parkinson.ca.
In October 2013, Parkinson Society Canada will host the World Parkinson Congress in Montreal, Quebec. For more information, visit www.parkinson.ca/WPC2013.
Parkinson Society Canada
416-227-3399 or 1-800-565-3000, ext. 3399
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