Meet Herb & Anna Durand, living with Parkinson’s and cancer survivor.
From a walk and jump to a shake and roll; from a hand that once held a cop’s pistol to one that can barely hold a spoon … this is the body that former Ottawa Police Services’ officer Herb Durand, 62, now inhabits.
For Herb’s wife, Anna, who is 61, life too has changed. His inability to walk far has curtailed their love of travelling, and Anna’s days are now filled with taking care of Herb. “People have no idea what I am going through. Essentially, I lost the person I married,” she admits.
For 13 years, the tag team that is Herb and Anna live each day under the spectre of Parkinson’s. But Anna too faced her own challenge eight years ago when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Now cancer-free, she is grateful for the items and support she received from the local chapter of the Canadian Cancer Society to alleviate her discomfort following a lumpectomy.
As for Herb, he cannot underscore the support that has been offered by Parkinson Society Canada. At the time of the diagnosis, the neurologist handed Herb a prescription for pills and told him to return in six months. “We didn’t know where to turn or what to expect,” says Anna. A suggestion from a colleague at Anna’s workplace to contact the Civic Hospital’s Movement Disorder Clinic led the couple to the Society’s local chapter — and their lives changed, for the better.
They found the help they needed: support, information, programs and services such as speech therapy and physiotherapy, and for Anna, caregiving and grief counselling courses.
Despite the challenges, Herb and Anna are grateful each day they have together — and for the resources made available through the local chapter of Parkinson Society Canada, one of 16 national health charities working under the HealthPartners umbrella to transform the health of Canadians. “We are living proof that donating to HealthPartners works.”
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