Let's Shake continues to raise money for Parkinson's research:Kim Petrie continues to organize fundraiser while continuing personal battle

Let’s Shake has raised a quarter of a million dollars in its first six years, and Kim Petrie wants to keep adding to that total.

After raising nearly $50,000 at last year’s gala fundraiser, she’s hoping to hit that number this year.

Petrie started the annual Let’s Shake event in 2013 to raise money for research to find a cure.

The event also helps spread awareness about Parkinson’s — particularly that it doesn’t just strike the elderly.

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Petrie first noticed Parkinson’s symptoms eight years ago: she had uncontrollable leg tremors, balance problems and difficulty performing simple motor functions. She didn’t believe that it could be Parkinson’s at age 45, but the Mountain resident didn’t plan on giving in without a fight. And she hasn’t.

On top of organizing the seventh annual Let’s Shake, the past year has been quite eventful for Petrie. She is co-owner of a new fitness studio — Optimum Movement (optimummovement.ca) in Ancaster — and has decided to try a Parkinson’s medication that she had resisted until now.

Petrie has been focusing on personal fitness to stave off the effects of the neurological disorder.

“I firmly believe the exercise and training is helping me,” she said, but the medication that she started taking last year — levodopa — has led to improvements in her condition.

“Without the levodopa, my mobility would be significantly impaired.”

She said that she fought her doctor about taking the drug, which helps the body produce dopamine, because she didn’t want to risk the side effects — including dyskinesia, or involuntary movement.

Her doctor convinced her that the drug would be less effective the worse her condition became, so she eventually gave in.

“After taking my first pill, it had an effect within 30 minutes,” she said.

So, far there have been no side effects, Petrie says.

Let’s Shake, set for April 12, features a four-course meal, silent and live auctions, draws and music (see sidebar).

Petrie’s daughter Alicia and her boyfriend, Christian Macapagal, will be giving a special performance.

“I’m not going to say what it is, but it’s a popular song right now,” said Petrie.

The evening will also feature the première of a 40-second video produced by Mohawk College marketing and communication students.

“It’s pretty impactful,” said Petrie.