Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 1/1/2012 (2874 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
In 1995, Ken Fisher received a diagnosis that would forever change every aspect of his life. He had Parkinsons — a neurodegenerative disease with no cure that can cause tremors, slowness, stiffness and impaired balance.
The disease hit when the married father was enjoying the prime of his life — he was in his mid-40s, working a dream job and building aircraft in southern Ontario. While the diagnosis was tough to cope with, Fisher decided he wasnt going to let it get the better of him.
He moved with his wife and son to Winnipeg to be closer to extended family. While he was unable to work, he knew he still had a lot to contribute and found solace in volunteering with Parkinson Society Manitoba, a non-profit agency dedicated to providing programs and services to those living with Parkinsons, educating the public on the disease as well as providing funds for research.
"All is not lost," said Fisher, a 63-year-old Fort Richmond resident, adding his faith and the support of his wife and son have been criticial. "I try to paint a positive picture. Its not all black. Its a burden but we all have burdens of some sort of another. As the saying goes, when youre handed a lemon, you make lemonade."
Fisher, who relies on a powered wheelchair, says having Parkinsons actually contributed positively to his life, allowing him the opportunity to meet incredible people and also do things hed never dreamed of doing.
"One thing I found out is that Parkinsons people are wonderful people. They are the most giving, forgiving, pleasant, understanding, hard-working individuals," said Fisher, adding hes also enjoyed getting to take part in the creation of educational videos and attend a national convention on behalf of Parkinson Society Manitoba. "Ive been able to make a contribution I never would have made before. I never would have made videos. I never would have had the opportunity to speak to people. Theyve given me that opportunity. They saw the abilities and skill sets I had and they decided that I would be useful. Its brought me a richness which Im very thankful for."
He adds hes assisted in many other ways, sitting on the founding committee of the Parkinson SuperWalk, an annual fundraising walk, co-ordinating the Parkinson Society massage program and doing educational presentations to schools, seniors groups and service clubs.
"It became extremely important because there has to be a cure and better remedial processes found for this debilitating disease. I want to see this brought under control in my lifetime," said Fisher, who also volunteers with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Winnipeg Airports Authority and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
"Its important that I become involved and use my energy in that direction. We have to agitate the community as a whole to be more aware of the problem and became more involved. We need money for research. We need people to help with all that. Its critically important."
If you would like more information about Parkinson Society Manitoba or you would like to become a volunteer, please call 204-786-2637. You can also learn more by visiting the organization online at www.parkinson.ca
If you know a special volunteer who strives to make his or her community a better place to live, please contact Erin Madden at email@example.com