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Parkinson's skating party hits Canalside

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Tue, Feb 14th 2017 12:45 pm

Ice bikes allow Parkinsonians opportunity to 'skate' once again

The National Parkinson Foundation of Western New York will host its third annual Parkinson's ice skating party at Canalside on Wednesday, Feb. 15.

Bicycling has proven to be an effective therapy for the battle against the symptoms that stem from Parkinson's disease, and Buffalo's ice bikes give the local Parkinson's community the unique opportunity of "skating." The ice bikes have stabilizing frames that prevent them from tipping, making them safe for Parkinsonians to use.

Organizers said this event has been embraced by many, as it is possible again for Parkinsonians of all ages to engage in a winter activity some thought they'd never experience again. The event is free to the Parkinson's community, and it kicks off at 5:30 p.m.

Attendance for the skating party jumped significantly last year, as word got out the use of the ice bikes was such a success.

Foundation Executive Director Chris Jamele said, "We had about 12 people join us the first year. It seems there was a bit of understandable skepticism about the whole idea of having Parkinsonians on the ice. But, once word got out about how well it went, we had 70 people join us last year. It was remarkable to see."

He said the organization is hoping for a similar turnout this year.

Because of the struggles with movement that Parkinson's brings on, organizers said, winter becomes an especially challenging time of year for the Parkinson's community. The Parkinson's skating party gives Parkinsonians, their caregivers and their families, an activity they can all participate in this time of year.

Lisa Florczak is the owner of Water Bikes of Buffalo and the person behind the development of the ice bikes. She said the idea of the ice bike was conceived in part as a way to cater to an audience that faces physical challenges. Florczak has worked closely with the foundation in making this annual event a reality, and she said she is excited to have the group back again.

Foundation President Vicky Glamuzina said the party creates some very special moments. "When you see the excitement in the individuals and families when they realize that they actually can all get on the ice together, it is truly emotional. Seeing kids who might not ever have skated with their grandparents get excited about that opportunity is really great."

The Parkinson's ice skating party is free to the region's Parkinson's community. Anyone wishing to attend or needing more information can contact the foundation office at 716-449-3795, 716-860-2354 or [email protected].

The foundation organizes the event, but it is made possible in part due to support from Medtronic and Lundbeck.

The National Parkinson Foundation of Western New York works to improve the quality of life for the Parkinson's community throughout Western New York.

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