On Saturday 12 May, my father and I went on a 5.5 mile sponsored walk at the Blickling Estate, Norfolk, in aid of Parkinson’s UK. It was the first time either of us have been involved in an official event for this national charity. My dad, Barry, who is just about to turn 73 years of age, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in December 2011. As the charity states:
“Every hour, someone in the UK is told they have Parkinson’s. Because we’re here, no one has to face Parkinson’s alone. We offer friendship, support, expert information and advice. We also fund ground breaking research into Parkinson’s and we’re leading the way to find a cure.”
Anyone that knows Barry knows that he still gets about, but he can’t do half the things he used to do or it takes a lot longer to do them. It has greatly affected his confidence, especially in social situations. Concentrating on tasks makes him shake a lot. He shuffles rather than walks nowadays. This slowly degenerative disease doesn’t kill, but it does affect the quality of life. Dad has always been a very keen walker, but he is not as stable as he used to be. He felt motivated to do this but kept conversation on the day to a minimum, as that requires energy.
Dad was already struggling with a dodgy toe. After about one mile, Dad’s knees started hurting. After about four miles his back went and he started walking at an awkward angle. He collapsed under a tree around the 5 mile mark. The last half a mile were a real struggle, but he stubbornly made it to the end and even ran the last 25 metres. He recovered and is already looking forward to doing the same walk again next year!
He enthusiastically raised £165 among friends and family, while I raised a further £65 through online donations. We will send this to Parkinson’s UK in due course.
The venue and the weather were great. All in all, it was a lovely day. A slideshow of my photos can be seen below:
All the official photographs can be found on this Flickr page.