Stories of Remembrance from the Parkinson’s Community

Every day those living with Parkinson’s fight for better living, for a cure. Today on Remembrance Day, we honour the people that served our country and are still serving to preserve our freedom. Freedom to pursue a better life, pursue love and happiness, and the freedom to reach for your greatest potential.

We asked members of the Parkinson Canada community to share with us what Remembrance Day means to them. Read their stories: 

Judy

Remembrance Day is a day I think of my father who spent three years overseas in the medical corps in WWII, leaving behind my mother and three little kids (age1-4).  I was 6 yr. old when he returned. An uncle of mine and three young cousins also served, one cousin was lost in action.

Joanne

During WWII my father was stationed in the south of England. My mother still lived at home with her parents, she worked at Confederation Life with a lady named Dorothy.  In order to help soldier moral people were encouraged to write to the boys overseas. Dorothy kept bugging my Mom to write to her bachelor Uncle Jim.

And so the romance started.  After 2 years, he wrote and asked that if he sent the money would she buy herself an engagement ring, she did. 

My dad came back in Feb.1946, my mom went with all his relatives to the Coliseum at the Exhibition to meet him.  Even though she was 32 years old, her father went along with her.  They married in June 1946 and were the happiest couple together.

Fifty years later, my son asked if he could have his grandmother’s ring to propose to his now wife.

He said that he always liked their story (and you think they do not pay attention).

Barbara & Ralph

My husband Ralph has PD, in 1957 he joined the navy and was enrolled at Royal Roads in Victoria and subsequently the Royal Military College in Kingston where he earned a degree in Economics.

Ralph became a pilot in the Naval Air Arm and served on the Canadian aircraft carrier, HMCS Bonaventure, tracking submarines during the cold war. The Bonaventure escorted the first Canadian peace keeping mission in Cyprus.

Remembrance Day is important to him as he recalls many “absent friends and fallen comrades” who served together.

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McDougall, left. Ron, right.

Nellie

My husband McDougall had Parkinson’s for over 20 years and passed away in 2011. My parents were born in Holland, we were taught to remember the Canadians who helped win the war in Holland. Remembrance Day has always been important to me and my husband.

During WWII McDougall served as a boy soldier, He joined the army when he was 13 years old in 1944, with the 1st Bat. Rupert Regiment (MG) militia, achieving the rank of Lance corporal. He lied about his age.

The training was quite intense, he travelled to summer training and exercises at Cordon Head in Victoria and Camp Nanaimo in Nanaimo. He was trained on most firearms and took driver training on jeep and Bren gun carriers.

After the hostilities in 1945 he turned in all his gear and we always went to the Remembrance services. After that he was a member of the Winnipeg Police Service in Winnipeg for 36 years.

His brother Ron also joined the army, he was a year older than McDougall.

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Tony Halvorson

At 75 years young, Tony lives in Charlottetown, PEI with his lovely wife of 48 years, Shawne. He has called PEI home since 1990 when he was stationed in Charlottetown with the RCMP. Four years ago, when Tony noticed small changes with his speech and found difficulty verbalizing thoughts and phrases he easily could say in his mind; he later would be diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Tony has always kept himself in great shape and continues to stay active following his diagnosis, using free weights and going on daily walks despite issues with balance.

He spent his 43-year long career working in service to his country and community, serving as a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy for 28 years and with the PEI RCMP for 15 years. During his time in the military, he had the opportunity to work on both the east and west coasts, Ottawa, and traveled extensively while stationed in the submarine service. Tony spent many years in PEI teaching firearm safety for the Province and for the RCMP. Tony is well known in the province for his sociability and being able to speak at length to almost anyone.

In the past him and his wife always attended services for Remembrance Day and they now attend in spirit while watching the service on TV.  It is important to remember.

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