Are you looking for a fun way to support people battling Parkinson's disease while spending time with your friends and family? Come to the Unity Walk and Run 2021 on 13th September and change the fate of people who suffer from Parkinson's disease. The Unity Walk and Run is an annual fundraising event created by Parkinson's organisations across Australia in 2008.
You can register for the 4km walk or the 8km run, whichever you prefer, and raise money to improve the lives of people living with Parkinson's disease, and to support and empower their family members and caregivers.
What Causes Parkinson's Disease?
Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder caused by the loss of nerve cells in the basal ganglia, which is the region of the brain that produces the chemical messenger dopamine. Dopamine deficiency interferes with brain and nervous system components that regulate movement, resulting in slowness of movement, which is the most common symptom of Parkinson's. As gait speed gradually slows down, the risk of falls increases.
Muscle rigidity, freezing of gait and shaking are other motor symptoms, while low blood pressure, fatigue, insomnia, swallowing and bladder problems are nonmotor symptoms. As Parkinson's disease advances, the body cannot carry out involuntary movements such as blinking or swinging the arms when walking. Once the person's motor skill declines, performing their daily living activities can become challenging, making them more likely to experience psychological symptoms like depression and anxiety.
The exact cause of Parkinson's disease is unknown, hence there are no proven preventive methods. However, certain risk factors for the disease include gender, genes, age and environmental toxins. Studies show that men are more likely to develop it than women, particularly those over the age of 60. Plus, your risk of developing Parkinson's disease is high if you have a close relative who has the disease.
How to Fund Parkinson's Research With the Unity Walk & Run
The Unity Walk participants are encouraged to create an online fundraising page on their social media accounts or blogs in order to raise funds to support the primary objective of the event. All proceeds from the event will be used to fund services for people with Parkinson's and support ongoing research into a potential cure for the disease.
Currently, Parkinson's motor and non-motor symptoms are only controlled by medication to prevent disease progression and at least help ease patients' difficulty in performing their daily activities. As well as prescribing an exercise program that includes aerobic exercise, doctors may also refer patients to a physical therapist for balance training.
To ease the symptoms, Parkinson's disease patients are advised to increase their physical activity and stick to a healthy diet prescribed by a certified dietitian. Working with an occupational therapist can also make it easier for them to carry out their daily living activities. There are also natural treatments that can be used to ease the burden of patients.