Wayne and Elaine Benning have been married for 53 years. They have built a life and a family together, but they never expected they would also be fighting Parkinson’s Disease together.
Last year in an effort to raise money and awareness for the disease, the couple, along with the Parkinson Society’s Comox Valley Support Group, brought the Parkinson Superwalk to the Valley.
The walk is back for the second year this September and the Bennings hope it will help raise money and awareness for the disease.
Wayne was diagnosed with the disease in Dec. 2013 after he began having troubles walking and started getting easily fatigued.
“I wasn’t devastated, but close,” he said.
After Elaine was diagnosed in April 2015, the two tried to take a positive approach to the situation.
“I tried to take it lightly and told our children that it was contagious and that I had contracted Parkinson’s from [Wayne],” laughed Elaine.
“But it was a bit of a blow.”
Both Bennings said they knew nothing about the disease before Wayne was diagnosed, and a lack of awareness seems to be common in the Valley.
“I didn’t know a thing about it really except that Michael J. Fox has it,” said Elaine.
“You think all that Parkinson’s people have to deal with is all the twisting and turning and the tremors and what not. We didn’t know much about it and it’s a continuing learning curve.”
She said many people with Parkinson’s Disease do not know about the supports available in the community, adding that the Comox Valley Parkinson Society Support Group has been a great help to her and her husband.
Both Wayne and Elaine will be walking in the Superwalk on Sept. 8 at the Courtenay Airpark playground.
For more information or to register for the walk, go to www.parkinson.bc.ca/superwalk