Westport’s 2019 Parkinson’s Optimism Walk inspires togetherness


Photo by Lauren Hassell ՚22

A portion of the optimism walk along the water at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport, Connecticut.

Lauren Hassell '22, Web Features Editor

Parkinson’s, the life-changing disease, does not result in a simple lifestyle after one’s diagnosis. However, the American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA) strives to provide methods to establish a communal bond between families coping with the effects of the disease. 

On Saturday, Oct. 5, Sherwood Island State Park hosted the annual Parkinson’s Disease Optimism Walk in association with the APDA. The non-competitive walk and fundraising event aimed to raise $40,000 that will lead to more successful treatments and ultimately, a cure.  

According to the APDA, Parkinson’s disease is defined as, a movement disorder that can impact the ability to take part in everyday activities.  Although it can be hard to continue one’s lifestyle after diagnosis, people with the disease seek normalcy.  

“I exercise and eat healthily and it’s making a big difference in my disease,”  Lynn Hagerbrant, a participant with Parkinson’s, said. 

This annual optimism walk is an event centered around maintaining active daily habits for those with the disease and those impacted by it.

“It’s a great way to create social support, community and get people moving,” Christina Colon-Semenza, a volunteer at the event, said. 

“It’s a great way to create social support, community and get people moving,” ”

— volunteer Christina Colon-Semenza

The combination of benefits from this event is what drew in a crowd of over 100 people at the waterfront pavilion, overlooking the ocean under the midmorning sun. This crowd prompted numerous sponsors to aid the event with funds and tables set up around the pavilion. Attendees were able to stroll around the vendor tables and enjoy the food, live music and scenery of the event. 

“I’m very happy with how things are going, it’s set up great,” Debbie Mckosky, an attendant of the event, said. “[I’m] really excited.” 

The overall organization of the event is a credit to Marlane Argianas, the program coordinator. 

“I volunteered and ran this walk for three years in a row,” Argianas said, “When the position opened up I was so happy [… ] we all get together as a community.”