The Journal Pioneer
ANGLO — When Luke McIver ran across P.E.I. last year in support of Parkinson’s disease research, he captured the interest of the Shea family from Anglo.
When McIver sought relay participants for his 2009 run, the Shea family signed up.
Brothers Nelson Jr (Junior) and Floyd Shea have been battling effects of a disease similar to Parkinson’s for years. Even the name of their affliction is similar: Parkinsonism.
They’d been dealing with the symptoms years prior to diagnosis.
“I noticed my leg used to shake when I played hockey in high school,” relates 51- year-old Junior.
As years passed, symptoms became more noticeable. For instance, he was finding his energy was becoming zapped earlier and earlier in the day.
It was his own insistence that his symptoms were similar to Parkinson’s that led to referrals to specialists for him and his brother. The actual diagnosis came in the mid 1990s and, since then, medication has helped ease the effects of Parkinsonism.
“If I want to do anything in the day, I’ve got to take the pill and it’s got to work,” Junior acknowledged.
Floyd, 49, is on a different medication and finds his meets his requirements better.
Floyd says he works for as long as he can and then starts over the next day. “Never give up,” he said, is his motto.
He said he plans to run a portion of the Luke McIver Relay for Parkinson’s on Saturday.
“I can still run from here to Tignish. I’m still in pretty good shape,” he quipped.
The Shea family is heading up a team that will do the Tignish-to-O’Leary leg and they are accepting pledges in support of research for a cure and educational and support programs to ease the burden of those living with Parkinson’s.
The cause, they acknowledge, is close to their hearts.
Last year McIver did the full 250-kilometre run in four days.
He ran in honour of his grandmother who is living with Parkinson’s and in memory of his grandfather who passed away with the disease.
Luke McIver’s Relay for Parkinson’s
• Takes place Saturday
• Proceeds for Parkinson’s research, education and support
• Several starting points along the route
• Entire route between Souris and Tignish will be covered by runners or
• Teams will be assigned a “leg” to run in relay
• Organizers hoping for a minimum of 20 teams
• Each team asked to collect at least $750 in pledges
• Cheques made payable to Parkinson’s Maritime Region
• Receipts issued for donations of $20 or more
• Barbecue in Charlottetown for all participants afterwards