Saturday, Sept. 10 will be a bitter sweet day for Claudia Bruyckere.
She is expecting several people to walk the trails that run through her farm in memory of her mother Monika Fritzsche who passed away in 2007 after suffering the debilitating effects of Parkinsons.
Bruyckere said it was lung cancer that took her mom in the end but for years she suffered from Parkinsons, a progressive neurological disorder which attacks the central nervous system and leads in many cases to problems with movement, speech and, in later stages, cognition.
“We first noticed signs when mom would jiggle her feet. Then the tremors moved to her hands. You could see the degeneration,” recalled Bruyckere.
She said despite her issues, her mom was able to continue her hobby of quilting but would get upset because her stitches were not as neat as they used to be.
“She quilted up until the end. She did everything to make sure Parkinsons did not take over her life,” she said.
Bruyckere said her mom walked the farm, went swimming and did everything in her power to minimize the effects of the disease.
“When she got stiff she would go into the hot tub in the middle of the night to keep her body from atrophying. When she got to the point of tripping she would take a cane on her walks and I would go with her.”
The one walk she wanted to do but couldn’t was the Parkinson SuperWalk in Victoria five years ago. Monika’s friends stepped in and decided to hold a walk for her on the farm and that is how the Oceanside Parkinsons Chapter became involved in the local SuperWalk.
Bruyckere said even though her mom couldn’t take part in that walk she was in her glory just seeing the people who showed up on the farm in support of the walk.
“She greeted everyone. It brought tears to her eyes,” Bruyckere said.
There are three trails people can choose to walk all of them around two kilometres. Bruyckere said registration is at 9 a.m. and people can begin walking right away. There will be light refreshments donated by the Qualicum Bakery and the event winds up at 4 p.m.
The first walk on the Hof Waldek Farm raised almost $20,000 and Bruyckere said every year people have been generous. The event is just one of 90 such events in communities across the country with 14,000 participants raising $2.8 million in Canada last year.
The farm is located past Morningstar Golf Course just past the train tracks on Hodges Road.