Six years ago, Mary Moody noticed something was wrong - she had begun dragging her left foot when she walked and was having quivers inside her leg.
A year later, a doctor diagnosed her with Parkinson's disease, a neurological illness that affects a part of the brain that controls movement.
The 60-year-old will take part in the fifth annual CSRA Parkinson's Walk on Saturday at the Wheeler Road Family Y track.
Aside from walking, there will be refreshments, music, prizes and balloons for children.
The walk is sponsored by the CSRA Parkinson's Support Group, the Augusta Chapter of the National Parkinson's Foundation, of which Mrs. Moody is a member.
Mrs. Moody, a teacher's assistant at Lake Forest Hills Elementary School who will retire in January, said her involvement in the walks has grown each year. This year she helped spearhead the event with her husband, Bert Moody, the chairman of the walk. She said she is hoping a lot of money will be raised for research, which has greatly helped her situation.
"Thank goodness for research. I feel fortunate for medications; they've done so much," she said. "I'm still working. I think staying active is real important. I can really tell the difference being on medication. I feel much better now than when I first walked into the doctor's office."
Mrs. Moody said an estimated 1,500 people are diagnosed with the disease in the area, and is glad for the media attention Parkinson's has received because of famous people with the disease.
"Michael J. Fox, Muhammad Ali, The Pope and, I think, Billy Graham," she said. "We have good company."
She said the core of the walkers are family and friends of those with Parkinson's, but that she is excited about teams that have signed up this year, including one of faculty from Lake Forest Hills and one of students from Glenn Hills High School.
Mary Ann Navarro, the president of the CSRA Parkinson's Support Group, said last year's walk raised $12,950. This year's goal is $20,040. The money raised primarily will go to research, split nationally and for local research at the Medical College of Georgia, Ms. Navarro said.
"The walk has been at the Family Y track every year. We find that successful because we encourage everybody to walk," she said. "Our goal is two miles, which is eight times around the track, but if some of our walkers with Parkinson's can walk only one time around, we applaud that. It becomes a festive celebration as well as a fund-raiser."
Registration begins at 8 a.m., opening ceremonies to honor sponsors at 8:45 a.m., followed by the walk at 9 a.m. Participants are encouraged to make donations. There is a $15 registration fee for anyone who wants a T-shirt.
For more information, call 738-2679.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: CSRA Parkinson's Walk
WHERE: The track at the Family Y, Wheeler Road
WHEN: 8 a.m. registration, 8:45 a.m. opening ceremonies, 9 a.m. walk
COST: $15 registration fee for T-shirtPHONE: 738-2679
Reach C. Samantha McKevie at (706) 823-3552 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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