Pump it for Parkinson's

Canterbury Court Steps It Up!

On April 11, World Parkinson’s Day, the Canterbury Court community took part in a nationwide event called Pump It for Parkinson’s. Designed to show support and raise awareness around Parkinson’s disease, and to illustrate how exercise benefits those living with it, participants used NuStep machines, treadmills, exercise bicycles, swimming pools, and often their own feet to see how many steps (or pedals or strokes!) they could amass in one day. Canterbury Court’s goal was 150,000 steps, but this amazing community blew their goal out of the water by completing over 800,000 steps (816,581, to be exact)! The national goal for this campaign was 10 million steps, which means Canterbury Court singlehandedly contributed close to 10% of this objective.

Andrew Wiltz, Wellness Director for Canterbury Court, notes that this was the community’s first time participating in an event such as Pump It for Parkinson’s. In the planning stages, he was just curious to see how they could raise awareness and how many steps they might contribute to the overall goal. By the end of April 11, Andrew says he “felt like an accountant… punching in numbers as they were coming in left and right.” Participants were feeding him numbers live, and he was taking phone calls and checking email to be sure he got all of the counts in on time.

“It was a high-energy day,” says Andrew. The level of participation across the board was impressive, with 113 residents, 75 staff and 3 family members taking part. “This was an example for us of how much residents get behind something; how active of a community we have here,” says Andrew. “It was meaningful and special, because of course it meant a lot to the residents here who have Parkinson’s to know how much we care, and it was a lot of fun!” he adds.

Canterbury Court residents using NuStep Machines

The advance planning with staff and residents was critical to the success of this event. The Resident Wellness Committee and their chair, Pat Miller, worked hard to ensure the word was spread and the bar was set high. They did everything from instilling a healthy sense of competition to decorating to supplying snacks and continuous encouragement. “We would not have accomplished this without them,” says Andrew, adding, “Getting behind a purpose together can drive people to do special things.”

Mike Banks, the Fitness Manager in the Wellness Department who took a lead role in the event, works regularly with residents who have Parkinson’s and particularly felt the importance that the Pump It for Parkinson’s event could have. “You can see the instant kind of reaction that exercise does for Parkinson’s,” he says. A large number of people have been touched by this disease in one way or another, and this far-reaching impact showed on April 11. Mike shared an anecdote about an interaction he had with a colleague whose brother was recently diagnosed; this colleague was touched by the movement, dedication, and energy of the event and was eager to make sure his steps were counted, that his mark was meaningful.

Pat Miller was impressed by residents and staff alike. “This community is unbelievable,” she says. The Wellness Committee team, made up of eight people, did an amazing job of parsing the work to be done and spreading the word. “It was like sending out the troops,” she laughs.

The result was a fantastic amount of inclusion and participation–regardless of age or physical ability. “We made it fun–teasing and challenging each other,” says Pat. The Monarch Pavilion, home to assisted living and memory support, threw out a step challenge to the rest of the community. “Not a smart thing to do,” Pat laughs. “It says something about the culture of this community…when they get behind something, it is very serious.” She adds, “The energy in the building was here all day long…and I think that was the most beautiful thing.”