Tenacious B.C. advocate for people with Parkinson’s leaves message of gratitude

Even as she faces her looming death, Maureen Kennah-Hafstein is determined and focused on improving treatment and outcomes for people with Parkinson’s disease in British Columbia.

Her years as a teacher are evident in the way she accomplishes this: She also wants to educate people about the disease.

In order to achieve her goals, Maureen left me the following letter for publication in The Observer after her death on November 2. The Observer has published more than a dozen articles about her and Parkinson’s since she came to The Observer on November 2. In June 2018, asked then editor Tracy Hughes for help.

As I told Maureen, writing stories with her was an education, an honor, and a lot of times a joy, witnessing her tenacity to demand and strive for a better world for others, seeing her courage, Humorously and generously sharing details of her heartbreaking Parkinson’s disease and witnessing how grateful and grateful she is for so much, despite her pain.

However, she did not act for honor or recognition.

While Maureen prides herself on reducing the surgery waiting list, she wants more. I hope her overwhelming efforts continue to yield results and the province ensures the necessary surgeons and operating theatres are in place so that those who could benefit from deep brain stimulation surgery can use it when they need it – at the very beginning of the procedure The benefits are limited until the disease progresses.


Maureen’s letter

At 49, I was diagnosed with juvenile Parkinson’s disease.

Early diagnosis meant that I was likely to live long enough to experience the full symptoms of the disease. Not to mention the long list of side effects that I needed to treat as the disease progressed.

There may be a long road of hardship ahead.

I want to share with you what Parkinson’s has given me while taking most of it away. I have to admit that it took a lot of emotional effort over 15 years to cultivate gratitude that ended up affecting every aspect of my mind.

Enduring endless Parkinson’s symptoms and side effects gave me the determination and courage I needed to endure the worst. For me, that was deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery.

Even though it was the hardest thing I had to face, it gave me the greatest relief from my most intolerable symptoms.

I am forever grateful for the unwavering support of my family and friends who have supported me from start to finish.

I can’t imagine how difficult it was for them to support me when I chose a date for MAID.

There is never enough preparation. Our four family meetings covered the very basics and that was enough.

I put out all the details of how I want things to go on the day I choose and have always been flexible with advice. I am forever grateful to my family for respecting my decision to end the pain.

They knew the time was right and it would be up to me alone. Parkinson’s gave me at least as much as it took away. During my extremely emotional journey, I learned what it means to be a spiritual person.

For that, I am very grateful.

Took some time to sort everything out. Like a good teacher, my lesson plan was made. I feel prepared and satisfied that I have completed my homework.

I know the people I stay behind will have to go their own way and deal with the loss in their own way.

My life has been enriched by the difficult journey of juvenile Parkinson’s disease.

Every day I see beauty and joy in the little things around me. As a result, I was able to notice the incredible synchronicity of events more easily.

I can only speculate how a path without Parkinson’s would affect my personal development, because that’s not my path.

One of my students at Eagle River Middle School in Sicamous asked me shortly after my diagnosis: “Why does bad things happen to good people?”

The answer I can confidently give now is: “It’s a bad thing, but it gives me awareness and gratitude that I wouldn’t have known otherwise.”

I believe this gift has made me a better person. My lesson: When something happens, like winning the lottery or being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at a young age, you can’t be sure if it’s good or bad until you’ve experienced its conclusion.

I believe I have done it, in my own way, with the love and support of my beautiful family and incredible friends.


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