Pickard paddles to support Parkinson’s research

Fitness studio owner has seen the positive effects of exercise with clients who have Parkinson’s

Doug Pickard, owner of Fluid Fitness Studio in Parksville, will be paddling his way from Comox to Qualicum Beach on May 23rd, in support of Parkinson’s Disease Research.

For Pickard, who grew up on Vancouver Island, the connection to Parkinson’s Disease came when he met a local woman named Donna, who had been struggling with Parkinson’s related symptoms for many years. After beginning one-on-one work with her, Pickard became more and more interested in the role that exercise played in helping to combat some of the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s.

After plenty of research of the disease itself, Pickard decided to start teaching a weekly class at his Fluid Fitness Studio, in order to help reach out to those affected with Parkinsons. Eight years later, the class is still going strong.

“I’ve seen the positive changes that exercise has on people’s lives,” Pickard said. “Especially those with Parkinson’s Disease. If you have PD, socializing with others who are going through similar experiences can help you realize that you’re not alone”

Along with the class at Fluid Fitness Studio, Pickard also takes part in the Parkinson’s Super Walk, as well as volunteering his time as the support group facilitator here in the Oceanside Area for those with Parkinson’s.

“The volunteering seemed like a natural extension,” Pickard said. “I really value being able to help anyone out that I can and I think that it’s important that everyone tries to give back and takes the time to help those out who need it. I feel very lucky to have a career where I get to help people through exercise and staying healthy.”

The Paddle4PD is a journey that’s approximately 50 kilometres from the Comox Harbour down to the Four Poles in Qualicum Beach. This will be Pickards second year participating in fundraising for The Parkinson’s Movement. Figuring to take anywhere between 10-12 hours, Pickard has been taking to the water with his Naish Standup Paddle Board to prepare himself for the journey.

Paddling his way from Deep Bay to Denman Island, or paddling around Nanoose Bay and it’s surrounding Islands, Pickard knows it’s going to be a tough journey but he’s got great motivation to get him where he wants to go.

“This is by far the longest one day push I’ve ever done on my board”, Pickard says, “But I’m just going to think about the trip in small segments that I can wrap my head around.”

“I’m mostly worried about how my feet will hold up, standing for this long on the board. But it’s only one day of dealing with some discomfort; people with Parkinson’s Disease have to deal with bad stuff everyday, so it really helps keep it all in perspective.”

For anyone looking to help donate to Doug’s fundraising efforts from Comox Harbour to Qualicum Beach, you can visit www.fluidfitstudio.com and click on the “Press to Donate” button on the webpage. Tax receipts will be issued for all donations and all of the funds raised will go towards finding a cure for Parkinson’s Disease.

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