Parkinson’s no barrier for Shane McPhee who walks for those who can’t at the STWM

Parkinson's Resource Centre

On Oct. 22, 2017, Shane McPhee finished the 5K walk of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. The following day, McPhee’s left knee was replaced.

It will been seven years come the 2018 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon since McPhee was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement. Currently, he’s training for Oct. 21, 2018 in hopes that his knee will hold up to allow him to finish the 5K walk once again.

The Toronto resident is participating to raise funds for the Toronto-based Parkinson’s Resource Centre through the Scotiabank Charity Challenge. PRC, an organization that provides programs, services, and resources to help people with Parkinson’s live well today, is one of the close to 200 official charities as part of the Scotiabank Charity Challenge.

Last year, in what the Parkinson’s Resource Centre’s first year fundraising, more than $31,000 was raised for that charity alone.

This is McPhee’s story, as told to Canada Running Series.

“I had never participated nor volunteered in a charitable event of such magnitude, until I registered for the 5K walk as part of the 2017 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

“My name is Shane McPhee. I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD), a progressively degenerative brain disease, in October 2011. It’s a disease that is unique for each individual who is diagnosed – unique in their combination of symptoms, symptom intensity, treatment, medicinal effectiveness and disease progression.

“The Parkinson’s Resource Centre (PRC) is a registered charitable organization that was established in 2016 to address a need for specialized health, education, fitness and exercise programs for people living with Parkinson’s. The flagship program offered by the PRC is Rock Steady Boxing Toronto (RSBT). It is a high-intensity, fun and effective, non-contact form of physical exercise for people living with Parkinson’s. Research suggests that intense exercise programs, such as RSBT, may actually work to delay the progression of the disease and improve the ability of people with Parkinson’s to live independent lives.

“This is my second year as a participant in the STWM and more specifically, the 5K walk – a magnificent partner in the fundraising efforts of the Parkinson’s Resource Centre. We’ve depended solely on the fundraising efforts of our members, volunteers and the generosity of donors.

“As a participant in the RSBT program, three- to four-times a week for close to two years now and seeing the positive impact it has made in my life and that of my fellow classmates in a variety of ways, per individual – slowing of disease progression, improved balance, improved posture, strength and conditioning, to name a few and a priceless feeling of hope and community developed through a ‘group fitness’ environment, I feel I have a responsibility to run / walk for the PRC and for those within our community less able, yet needing the services and programs provided by PRC, as much as I do.”

Learn more about the official charities of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and Scotiabank Charity Challenge. Read more Scotiabank Charity Challenge stories on the Canada Running Series blog here.

Registration for the Oct. 21 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is currently open.