The annual Parkinson Step ‘n Stride walk is returning to the city. On September 7th, Grande Prairie will host one of nine walks being held across the province to raise money for research as well as for programs and services for those living with the disease.

Parkinson Association of Alberta Fund Development Manager Dacey Cooper-Varga says the goal of this event is to raise awareness and get rid of some of the common misconceptions around the disease.

“Within 10 years this will be an epidemic; it is the second neurological disease next to Alzheimers so we really want to raise awareness. A lot of people think of this disease as an old person disease where in fact the average age of diagnosis is 56 with five to 10 per cent of those being under the age of 40.”

The fundraising goal for the Grande Prairie walk is sitting at $22,000 dollars. Cooper-Varga says all the money raised in the city will stay in the city.

“It all goes into core services with 10 per cent of that going to research. Some of the core services we offer are the one on one professional supportive counselling support for families because they also need someone to talk to…We also provide education and vital funds for research.”

People are able to pre-register for the walk online or at the park on the morning of the walk. Registration opens at 10 a.m. with the walk leaving from the Muskoseepi Park Pavillion at 11 a.m.