Drive by Alf Todd’s house and you’ll see a tidy yard, two shiny boats in the driveway, and your average family man puttering in his garage. Fit and muscular, Alf looks young for 62. One would never guess he has Parkinson’s disease.
Odd physical changes started about 10 years ago, he says. First up: no more sense of smell. Muscles tightened. Then his arms stopped swinging when he walked. All are hallmarks of the disease.
“As soon as I learned I had Parkinson’s, I needed to understand what was going on with my body.” He searched online for resources and found the Greater Victoria Epilepsy and Parkinson’s Centre funded, in part, by United Way.
Alf has connected with new and old friends alike at the Centre since being first diagnosed. Through their encouragement, Alf says he felt like he was allowed to be himself, to grow and learn.
Volunteering with the Centre has become increasingly rewarding and Alf now leads a support group of his own. He speaks publicly about Parkinson’s, the need for research, and the value of having a resource like the Centre in his own neighbourhood.
“Parkinson’s has a way of changing things. I’ve had to learn a new level of patience which I consider the bigger miracle.”
Living life to the fullest, Alf’s mobility is changing. “I freeze up sometimes as if my feet were nailed to the floor.” Simple tasks are hardly that these days. Such change is daunting yet he chooses to reflect on the positives. “I have lots to be thankful for. I have my faith, my wife, my family and my support group.”