At just 34 years of age, Amy Lavallee was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease. A mother to three young sons, Lavallee didn’t immediately come to terms with the disease and searched to find support resources where she could meet other early onset patients. After some research, she found the name of a nonprofit, Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon (PRO), and a walk event called Sole Support that took place in Bend.
“A walk seemed like a way for me to get involved without having to get too personal about my disease. I signed up and thought I would start a team and raise a little money”, said Lavallee. “What I didn’t expect is that meeting their staff would direct me to not only a Parkinson’s specific exercise class but also to a community of people who became an extension of my support system. I needed to hear the encouragement from fellow exercise classmates saying ‘I’ve been doing this for 15 years, you can do this.’”
Three walks later, Lavallee is a leading fundraiser and team builder for the Central Oregon Sole Support Walk for Parkinson’s disease. She sits on the planning committee with other Central Oregon people affected by Parkinson’s disease and works to spread Parkinson’s awareness and raise funds for PRO programs.
“This group and this event have given me a purpose,” says Lavallee. “I still struggle with irritability, anxiety and the realization that I’m not going to be the kind of mother I had envisioned with my disease. However, this has been a good lesson for my family about patience, acceptance, and compassion for people with varying physical and mental abilities. It’s taught my sons that helping people with compassion is important.”
Sole Support Central Oregon walk is an inclusive event to step out on Parkinson’s disease.
Packet Pickup Date: September 12, 2020
Location: Ponderosa Elementary School, 3790 NE Purcell Blvd., Bend
Walk Date: September 13, 2020, 10am-3pm
Choose your socially distanced walk location, “care-a-van” to your team’s destination. Be sure to take photos and Facebook live videos to share on social media!
Registration and donation details: solesupport.org or 800-426-6806
Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon (PRO) is a donor supported non-profit with the sole mission of advancing the quality of life for people with Parkinson’s, their families and caregivers. With three locations (Bend, Eugene, Beaverton), PRO provides direct care and support of thousands of families. Working to address issues faced by Parkinson’s patients and their families, we can significantly improve the quality of life for all touched by this disease.