WILLIAM Boag wants people to know that life isn’t over if you’re diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and he is proving it by walking 700km through Spain.
The Balmain resident has had the disease for five years, but along with his wife, has embarked on the Camino Frances walk, a pilgrim’s route starting in the French Pyrenees and ending in Santiago de Compostela in the far west of Spain.
“I’m hoping to raise funds and awareness and show other sufferers, who are struggling to make sense of this disease, that life isn’t over with Parkinson’s, and it can be used to enrich your life instead of limiting it,” he said.
“I am also looking forward to the personal challenge and to enjoying nature, changes of scenery, meeting up with others and sharing my story and journey on my blog willtowalk.com.au.”
Mr Boag had been walking an average of 7km a day to train, but following a recent hip operation, an onset of bursitis and a swollen ankle, his preparation has been limited, but he said his mind is strong.
The 66-year-old said his life has changed since the diagnosis including weakness in his left arm and leg, slight trembling of his left forearm and mouth, his cognitive function has slowed a little, he has lost natural facial expression and his voice has lost a lot of strength.
“It has focused me on life a lot more, because I have a time limit on how long I can use my physical body, so I write a lot of stories and poems, which also keeps my mind active, exercise specifically for certain parts of my body, I walk to keep reminding my body it is OK, do voice training to stop the deterioration in it and meditation to strengthen myself spiritually,” he said.
April 11 is World Parkinson’s Day and Mr Boag will be in Bayonne, France with a banner created by pupils from Birchgrove Public School to promote the day.
His walk will raise money to find a cure through the Shake It Up Australia Foundation. To donate go to personalchallenge.gofundraise.com.au/page/Will2Walk.
The Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation established in 2011 to promote and fund Parkinson’s disease research in Australia and has partnered with the Michael J Fox Foundation for Medical Research, with one clear goal: to find a cure for Parkinson’s.
Source: The Daily Telegraph
Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities and currently works at Redkite, a childhood cancer charity.