Racing against Parkinson’s

Lisa Wourms is training for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships

Lisa Wourms of Camas is using her passion for triathlons to raise funds and awareness for Parkinson's Disease, which her mother, Peggy Blakeley, was diagnosed with in 2013. This photo of Wourms and her mom was taken a year ago. (Contributed photo)

A local woman is using her love of triathlons in the fight against Parkinson’s disease.

Lisa Wourms of Camas has been participating in sprint, Olympic and half iron distance races since 2006. She started out with a mountain bike and swimming in the pool, and has since progressed to qualifying for the elite Ironman 70.3 World Championships twice.

Wourms, 47, has fought through pain, fatigue and nausea to accomplish her goals. But now she is fighting a new battle.

In 2013, her mother, Peggy Blakeley, 71, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. Blakeley’s condition quickly deteriorated into hallucinations, lack of independent mobility and the inability to communicate.

“Parkinson’s disease dementia has stolen my mother from me and my family,” Wourms said. “I’ve been frustrated watching as this disease slowly takes her away from us and felt helpless to do anything about it. I finally found a way to contribute through my passion for triathlons, and have decided to use my racing as a way to bring awareness to this disease.”

Wourms is currently training for Worlds, which will take place in Australia in September. Soon after, she will board another plane to participate in Ironman Arizona 70.3, and race for Team Hope, a group dedicated to raising awareness and funds for Parkinson’s research.

“For me, exercise is a way of relieving stress and I am a total race junkie,” Wourms said. “I felt helpless just sitting there and not being able to do anything, so one night I was perusing all of the race sites and came across Team Hope. This is something useful I can do to help her.”

Wourms is halfway to her goal of raising $3,000 by Oct. 1.

“It’s amazing how many people have been touched by this,” she said. “We have to find a way to help people because ultimately, this impacts us all. We have an aging population who will need care. We need to find a cure for this disease.”

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