Howard McKay started to feel the effects of Parkinson's disease when he was still in his 30s.
McKay, now 70, was diagnosed with the disease 20 years ago and had to move to Thunder Bay from his home community of Bearskin Lake in 2010 because he could no longer live independently with his wife Jessie.
"This has been very difficult for them," said McKay's daughter Sharon Angeconeb.
"They lived a very active life out on the land when they were living in Bearskin Lake. They were always out on the land camping, hunting, fishing."
"He was always very independent, very physical. He did a lot of heavy work when he was well," Angeconeb added.
McKay's family will be participating in the Parkinson's Super Walk on Sept. 7 at Intercity Shopping Centre. The event raises money for research, education, support and advocacy for the disease.
This will be the family's second time participating and Angeconeb said the walk is important to her because it allows her to show that Parkinson's also affects people living up North.
For her parents, one of the biggest struggles of McKay's Parkinson's was the isolation living in a remote community, where the disease is not common.
"The extra challenge is not having access to a specialist, not having access to support groups and the language barrier is there," said Angeconeb, adding both of her parents don't speak much English.
Parkinson's also affects the entire family, she said.
And for Angeconeb, it was especially hard on her mother who was her father's primary caregiver for about 15 years after her father was diagnosed.
"It was very stressful and tiring for her," she said.
With the advances in technology in the last few years, Angeconeb said she'd like to see more support services put in place for people in remote northern communities with Parkinson's and better access to specialists.
Last year, Angeconeb and her family raised $2,000 in pledges for the Super Walk and they hope to match that this year. They used McKay's initials to form their team name - the HAM Clan.
There are 100,000 Canadians living with Parkinson's disease.
The 23rd annual Super Walk starts at 10 a.m. on Sept. 7; registration is at 9 a.m.
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