Participants in last year’s Parksville Walk for Arthritis jog, stroll or hitch a ride along the seawalk in Community Park. The 2018 walk takes place Saturday, June 2, beginning at 8:30 a.m. — NEWS file photo

Parksville walkers step out against arthritis

Annual Walk for Arthritis fundraiser starts Saturday at Community Park

For nearly 30 years, arthritis sufferer Tracey Pike has benefited from both education and motion-based treatment. Now, said Pike, it’s her turn to give back.

Pike will put her skills as a yoga instructor to good use this Saturday when she leads a warm-up for participants in the annual Parksville Walk for Arthritis at the Parksville waterfront in Community Park.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., with the walk to commence at 10 a.m. from the gazebo on the boardwalk. By the time walkers start out, they should be plenty loose, if Pike has her way.

“This is the second year I’ve been involved with the walk, but I’ve always supported the (arthritis) society,” said Pike, 51, who moved to the region from Alberta 25 years ago. “They have some lovely programs in our community that are free, and they share so much information. The education part is so important.”

Pike was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, an auto-immune disease, at age 19. Previously fit and athletic, she found she had to scale back her activities, while still remaining active to fight off the debilitating aspects of the disease.

“I found yoga classes, I found swimming and cycling, exercises that help with the depression and the anxiety,” said Pike. “You’re worried, ‘Am I doing to be able to do anything?’ But it’s a case of being kinder to your body and coming to terms with it.”

While working as a medical office assistant for several family practitioners over a 25-year span, Pike earned certification as a yoga instructor and has taught classes on a part-time basis since 2004. Last year she retired to devote herself full-time to yoga instruction and healing touch therapy on a full-time basis.

“I wanted to teach a class that was suitable for people like me: still young, but losing mobility,” said Pike. “You feel like you should be able to keep up with people that are older than you.”

She has expanded her yoga offerings to included classes for all ages and abilities, including chair yoga for seniors.

Information on her programs can be found at www.yoga4you.me.

Proceeds from Saturday’s Walk for Arthritis will go toward research, advocacy and treatment for the more than six million Canadians impacted by arthritis. It is the ninth annual walk nationwide, which has raised more than $10 million since its inception.

To learn more, call Emma at 250-519-4000 or email parksvillewalkforarthritis@arthritis.ca.

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