Walker Profile: Margaret Borges

Margaret Borges began participating with Walk for Parkinson’s in 2018. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2012, she was looking for a way to take action and raise awareness. Even during the pandemic, Margaret stayed active and planned a 5km walk around her neighbourhood with her children. She trained all summer. During the walk, neighbours would stop them and ask what they were walking for. Margaret was happy to share her story with them and raise awareness for Parkinson’s.

Margaret shares with me that the main reason she is involved with Walk for Parkinson’s is to “educate people on how the disease affects people differently.” She adds, “There are no typical symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.” For example, Margaret does not have a tremor, one of the more common symptoms associated with Parkinson’s, but she deals with other symptoms, such as fatigue.

Parkinson’s has changed Margaret’s daily living, but she insists on staying positive and finding solutions for any problems that she encounters. For example, instead of getting frustrated with not being able to tie shoelaces, she made the easy switch of purchasing shoes with no laces. Margaret notes that time management is important, so she gives herself extra time to complete tasks and to get ready in the morning. During our conversation, she shares a phrase that she finds helpful: “Parkinson’s lives with me, I don’t live with it.” In other words, she is in control, not the disease.

Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario has helped Margaret by providing her with information and access to exercise programming. Margaret began the Rock Steady Boxing program in May, and has already begun to see progress. After only one month of participating, Margaret has noticed that her posture has improved! She mentions, “The program helps me mentally and physically, and even though I’m tired afterwards, I always look forward to the next session.” Margaret enjoys connecting with other people living with Parkinson’s, and her husband is able to participate with her as well. She says, “The program is a lot of fun and hard work, and every week is different.”

Margaret encourages other people to get involved with Walk for Parkinson’s in order to educate themselves, friends and family members about the different ways Parkinson’s affects people. “The more you know, the more you understand,” she says, “and there is always something new to learn.”

Margaret is looking forward to returning to the in-person Walk for Parkinson’s event this year with her team, the Night Warriors. When I asked her about the team name, she mentions that she came up with it after dealing with insomnia, a common Parkinson’s symptom. She says, “The name Night Warriors came to mind, as I see myself as a fighter and I don’t give up.”