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Shelleys hosting sixth annual Parkinson’s Golf Fundraiser

Couple have raised nearly $38,000 for Parkinson Society British Columbia since the event started
Harvey Langdon and Merl Shelley hit the golf course for the Shelley family’s Parkinson Golf Fundraiser in 2018. (Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press)

Golfers will tee off at Sparwood Golf Club on June 3 for Merl and Carol Shelley’s sixth annual Parkinson’s Disease fundraiser.

The couple have raised nearly $38,000 in donations for Parkinson Society British Columbia since they started hosting the event and they’re hoping to bring this total up to $50,000 this year.

Last year, they raised just over $13,000.

“It’s a real fun tournament,” said Carol. “You don’t have to know how to golf. Just relax and have fun.”

“[Golfers] they bring their families out. It brings people closer.”

The event is about supporting people who have been impacted by or know someone with the disease.

“No one is alone. There’s answers and there’s other people who are touched by it,” she said.

READ MORE: Elk Valley Parkinson’s Golf Fundraiser returning to Sparwood after two year hiatus

There will be 72 golfers out on the nine-hole course this weekend. Money will be raised through individual donations and through a prize auction.

Terry Hume and Adam Toner will help the Shelleys gather donations and organize prizes.

The very first Parkinson’s golf fundraiser was held in memory of the Shelleys’ good friend Joe Tracey — a golfer who suffered from Parkinson’s. It also supports Merl, who developed the disease 13 years ago.

Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative neurological disorder that produces a variety of symptoms including tremors, muscle stiffness, a loss of spontaneous movement and unstable balance. It is a progressive condition and symptoms often grow worse over time. It can appear in old and young people. According to Parkinson Society British Columbia, 100,000 Canadians and 15,000 B.C residents have the disease.

Although there are medications that can reduce symptoms by stimulating brain cells, there aren’t any tests for the disease. Health professionals diagnose people when they begin to feel the effects of the illness.

There are a wide range of symptoms and the progression of the disease varies greatly between people. Carol said this unpredictability can lead to feelings of fear, which is why it’s important to have a community that can offer support.

“There’s a lot of unknowns of what happens. Everyone’s different.”

Staying active is key to managing symptoms and golf is one activity that can help.

“The more movement, the better.”


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About the Author: Gillian Francis

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