Physical fitness has always been important in Tim Hague’s life, but it wasn’t until he noticed his toe twitching that he realized just how important it was.
Now, he’s sharing his journey with the whole country on The Amazing Race Canada.
Hague, 48, a registered nurse at St. Boniface Hospital and a participant on The Amazing Race Canada with his son Tim Jr., was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s in February 2011.
"Aside from freaking out, I did OK," said Hague of when he was first diagnosed. "You take some time and you get your head around it and you realize in the end that I’m still healthy."
On Aug. 13, Hague and volunteers from the Parkinson Society of Manitoba (PSM) gathered in La Vérendrye Park for the launch of the 2013 Parkinson SuperWalk. While there, Hague led a group in a brief exercise program.
Hague said the literature on Parkinson’s is pointing more and more toward physical activity helping those who suffer from the neurological disorder.
"It is highly likely that exercise will push back rigidity, the stiffness people get, the tremor that you get, it just helps in every single way," said Hague.
Dr. Andrew Borys agreed in a release.
"Difficulty walking is a hallmark of this central nervous system disorder and current treatments don’t preserve mobility as the disease progresses," said Borys. "Moderate exercise may help preserve mobility."
Howard Koks, CEO of the PSM, said it all goes back to the basics.
"We all know we should exercise, that we’re going to feel better," said Koks. "It just becomes more critical when you have Parkinson’s, because one of the impacts of Parkinson’s is that it just slows your body down, it stiffens it up."
Hague is inspiring people and raising awareness of the disorder across the country through his newfound fame on The Amazing Race Canada, said Koks.
"When you get people like Tim you get leaders," said Koks. "The biggest impact that people like Tim have is just letting people know that (they’re) not alone."
Hague sees it as a huge opportunity.
"It’s a chance to showcase Parkinson’s," said Hague. "The fact that there are about 20% of us who are under 50 diagnosed every year with Parkinson’s disease. People think that it’s an old man’s disease and it’s really important for us to get the word out."
Hague and Koks will be at the Parkinson SuperWalk taking place at the Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain, 340 Provencher Blvd. on Sept. 7. Across Canada, the walks hope to raise $3 million, and in Manitoba the society’s goal is $200,000. To register, visit parkinsonsuperwalk.ca.