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Bill

Getting dressed is a daily chore for Bill Trewin. It’s not so bad at home, but Bill works out at the Moncton YMCA six days a week. He says, “When I get changed, I’m self-conscious about people watching me struggle.”

Between the tremors in his hand and the rigidity creeping from wrist to elbow, just pushing his right arm through his sleeve is an effort. However, he’s such a regular at the gym, that, he says, “If I need a tug on my shirt, people offer to help. There’s that comfort now.”

Bill, 55, has Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that affects about 100,000 Canadians. The most common symptoms are tremor, slowness and stiffness, balance problems and muscle rigidity.

The average age of onset is 60, but some, like Bill, can be diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s, at age 30 or 40.

Its effects on Bill’s concentration made it difficult for him to continue working. “Once, I could switch gears very rapidly,” he says. “Now that’s pretty well gone. It’s an effort to stay focused.”

After 25 years in the RCMP, then working for the government of New Brunswick as regional director for public safety in Moncton, he no longer works in the public sector but old habits die hard. Bill now serves the community as a volunteer extraordinaire for the YMCA’s sporting events and community food bank and for Parkinson Society Maritime Region.

As “the go-to person” for newcomers who join the Greater Moncton Parkinson’s Support Group, Bill says, “My aim is to get people to calm down, take a deep breath, pull themselves together and realize they’re on a journey. Nobody knows how it’s going to go but you have to think as positively as you can.”

Formerly an avid runner, Bill now competes in Nordic walking marathons and half-marathons throughout the Maritimes.

His walking poles also come in handy for hikes and searching out waterfalls to shoot, as an amateur photographer. Bill’s waterfall pictures can be seen on his blog.

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Parkinson Society
Maritime Region

7071 Bayers Road, Suite 150
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3L 2C2

Toll free: 1-800-663-2468
Phone: 1-902-422-3656
Fax: 1-902-422-3797

psmr@parkinsonmaritimes.ca