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Parkinson Society Canada Celebrates World Parkinson Day and Volunteer Week by Honouring Extraordinary Heroes with National Awards


TORONTO, ON, April 11, 2014 – A group of individuals are being recognized today, World Parkinson Day, for their outstanding contributions to the Parkinson’s community in Canada. The National Volunteer Award program recognizes extraordinary volunteers who share our vision of a better life with a brighter future for Canadians living with Parkinson’s disease.

“What makes our national volunteer recognition program special is that these individuals are nominated by members of their community. Volunteers play a vital role in the work that we do coast to coast. We are delighted to extend our gratitude and honour these outstanding  individuals for inspiring hope in 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 – Alice Templin, Ottawa, Ontario

Alice is a retired physiotherapist and an active ESL teacher in Ottawa. She has managed Parkinson Society Eastern Ontario’s (PSEO) resource library for more than seven years and remains an active and dedicated education and support services volunteer since 2006. She has helped PSEO provide interesting and well attended education days that have covered broad topics focused on Living Well, Research and Parkinson’s Challenges and Solutions. In 2011, Alice served on the program planning committee (Comprehensive Care) for World Parkinson Congress 2013 in Montreal.

“Alice’s significant contributions, caring and support for people living with Parkinson’s as a volunteer is crucial for the important work that we do together in the Ottawa region, and across the country,” says Dennise Taylor-Gilhen, CEO, Parkinson Society Eastern Ontario.

Spirit of Philanthropy Award (Two awardees) – Richard Côté, Longueuil, Quebec  and Jenna Sigurdson & Family, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Richard Côté: Richard has shown consistent volunteer leadership while playing an important role in raising funds for Parkinson’s disease in Canada. His work with Parkinson Society Quebec and efforts as a board member of Parkinson Society Canada is complimented by his history as a founding member of the Fonds Quebecois de Recherche sur le Parkinson (FQRP). The FQRP secured $2 million for research over four years thanks in large part to Richard’s efforts.

“Richard shows consistent volunteer leadership year after year. His individual efforts have given a generous boost to the National Research Program that directly invests in grass-roots research, not only in Quebec but also across Canada,” said Dr. Edward A. Fon, MD, FRCP(C), Director, McGill Parkinson Program.

Jenna Sigurdson & Family: In June 2012 at the age of 11, Jenna set out to raise funds and awareness for Parkinson’s disease. Within three days of joining the Young Onset SuperWalk team she raised $1,216 for the annual walk by connecting with neighbours and friends. To date, Jenna has raised over $30,000 for Parkinson Society Manitoba (PSM) with the support of her family, using the person-to-person opportunities to educate people. Their most recent event, a pancake breakfast in March 2014, raised over $2,600. The Sigurdson family generously shares their personal story of living with Parkinson’s to actively promote Parkinson Society Manitoba. Their efforts inspire new volunteers and other families to join Parkinson SuperWalk.

“All members of the Sigurdson family are involved as a team in all activities. They truly embody togetherness, generosity, and community spirit. Their continued energy and dedication has improved the lives for the 6,000 people in Manitoba living with Parkinson’s,” says Marc Pittet, Chair, Parkinson Society Manitoba.

To learn more about the National Volunteer Award criteria and nomination process, visit www.parkinson.ca.

About World Parkinson Day
World Parkinson's Day is observed every year on April 11, marking the birthday of Dr. James Parkinson, the English physician who first described the symptoms of the disease in his work titled, An Essay on the Shaking Palsy (1817). This early description of Parkinson's symptoms made reference to: "involuntary tremulous motion, with lessened muscular power, in parts not in action and even when supported; with a propensity to bend the trunk forwards, and to pass from a walking to a running pace: the sense and intellect being uninjured." French neurologist Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot added rigidity to the list of physical symptoms and attached the name Parkinson's disease to the syndrome, four decades later.

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 $22 million has been invested in over 425 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 get involved, call 1-800-565-3000 or visit www.parkinson.ca.

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For more information, please contact:

Marina Joseph
1-800-565-3000 ext. 33899, 416-227-9700, ext. 3399
marina.joseph@parkinson.ca