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Garen Takes Stock of a Year in Sport Parkinson’s as he Celebrates his 50th

Our first event – The Sport’s Parkinson’s Summer Try-Athlon – Great day up at Worcester Warriors’ Sixways Stadium. We pulled the community together to actively try out sport and exercise. I played in the football tournament and enjoyed every minute of it – but my favourite exercise in the spirit of the day was the shadowboxing with Charles Delve.

Afterwards, it was realising, through emails, messages and conversations – how many people went on to change how they were living their lives-not just in terms of exercise, but challenging themselves in all areas. At the Try-athlon where we could all feel free and comfortable – in environment where people with Parkinson’s could try any activity without feeling any awkwardness, it allowed a real community spirit to blossom. I was proud to be part of organising it.

The Sports Parkinson’s Try-Athlon will be the same, but different this year – we are going to put stronger emphasis on trying new things, including new sports with a strong Parkinson’s Family Focus!

We will be encouraging people to try walking sports, courtesy of the Walking Football Association and Alan Gormley from the Bromsgrove Walking Sports Centre , and of course the brilliant Worcester Warriors Community Foundation….

We will have a new walking football event in March – which we can’t wait to announce and will be looking to support new endeavours across the Parkinson’s community as we have seen so vividly the difference that sport can make first hand.

We then moved on to our next event, which was at Sport Parkinson’s Four Nations Golf Tournament at The Belfry. This was a lot of hard work by all to get in place, but what was so pleasing for me to see was the experience of the golfers and their families; the camaraderie, the togetherness, the team spirit and support across all competitors.

There there’s a couple of highlights for me, one of them was, Alun the Wales team Captain who said, “I don’t like losing at the best of times, but I thoroughly enjoyed the game and overall it was such a great experience that I didn’t mind losing.”

Observing the difference that having a goal such as playing in these flagship events can have. It demonstrate the power of purpose and it was humbling to see. It reminded of my own personal journey at the Ray Kennedy Cup.

Aside from the events , which we will be announcing on the 1st of January my personal goal is to learn how to play golf and get out there on the course! I’ve seen first-hand the benefit of stance and the movement of golf. What Claire (Sport Parkinson’s) calls the Dance Move! I’m going to strengthen my core, improve my timing, strength and movement – all positives and ultimately competing with everyone else. How good I will be ? I don’t know – I’m looking forward to finding out.

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