POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 41 KENTVILLE - Five years ago Theresa Digioacchino was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the challenges of living with the debilitating neurodegenerative disorder and to raise money for research she hopes will find a cure very soon. “I decided then I’m not going to sit around and get depressed,” she said in an interview Sunday. “I’m going to do something about it.” For the past five years, she has spearheaded the annual Parkinson Society Maritimes Superwalk in locations around the Valley to raise research dollars and to bring Parkinson’s sufferers and their families and friends together. This year’s event was held in Kentville on Sunday, with upwards of 50 people of all ages running or walking to raise money. “It took a lot out of me this time,” she said of the months of preparation. “But I don’t want it to end.” She said several people in her family have had Parkinson’s, which has drastically affected her life. “I don’t want to see my kids like this,” she said. “If one of them gets this, I want there to be a cure.” Bruce Tupper of Kentville was on hand to support the event. His sister-in-law, Pauline Tupper, is a Parkinson’s sufferer. “It’s a devastating disease,” he said. “It breaks your heart. She has an amazing spirit that has not been broken by the disease, but physically it has made a dramatic impact on her life. It’s hard to watch and you wish there was more you could do.” But Mr. Tupper said the Superwalks do more than raise money and awareness – they let Parkinson’s patients and their families know people care. “It’s helpful to know other people support you,” he said. Last year 15 Maritime communities hosted Superwalks, raising over $80,000 for research and services. Parkinson Society Maritimes spokeswoman Judy Robichaud said events were to be held Sunday across the Maritimes and Canada. “It’s our signature event,” she said in an interview. “It gives Parkinsonians a voice.” Ms. Digioacchino said her motto is the same as that of Michael J. Fox, the celebrity activist for Parkinson’s research. “He’s not stopping. He’s going to keep going until the cure is found,” she said. “It’s almost here.” ( PAUL PICKERAM Theresa Digiacchino, left, is shown Sunday with participants in the annual Parkinson Society Maritimes Superwalk in Kentville. Ms. Digioacchino has organized walks in the Annapolis Valley to raise money for research since she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s five years ago. BY PAUL PICKERAM Parkinson’s patient takes fight on personnally As originally published Valley woman has made it her mission to raise funds for research