Did you know there are around 200,000 Australians currently living with Parkinson’s and a further 38 people diagnosed every day? One of our inspiring fundraisers – high school teacher Jordan – crunched the numbers and decided to walk 38km, three times, to achieve 200,000 steps – a huge task to take on! We spoke with Jordan about the highlights and hurdles of his remarkable walking challenge, and why Parkinson’s is a cause close to his heart.
Hi Jordan! Tell us all about your 150k steps challenge. How did it come about?
I was on my school holidays and I wanted to challenge myself physically and mentally as well as raise money for Parkinson’s. Upon research I found that 38 people a day get diagnosed in Australia and roughly 200,000 a year. So, I worked out if I walk 38km 3 times that will equal roughly 200,000 steps. Both these numbers represent the diagnosis of Australians with Parkinson’s so it was perfect.
What inspired your commitment to fundraise for Parkinson’s?
We found out earlier this year my father had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the young age of 50. Before this we had very limited knowledge on Parkinson’s and had no idea how prevalent it is. As I conducted further research, I discovered that for something so prevalent there is no cure, which shocked me! Therefore, it’s so important to raise funds for research. This made me determined to raise some money and start some conversations.
Why did you choose to support Shake It Up Australia ?
I researched Parkinson’s fundraising in Australia and came across Shake It Up. It really appealed to me that Shake It Up encouraged creating your own fundraising challenge – I liked that could make my own challenge and have some agency on what that looked like. I also liked that they were partnered with the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, which is for the broader community the most well-known foundation for Parkinson’s.
What were some of the biggest highlights and hurdles throughout your walking challenge?
Walking alone for 7 hours at a time can get very boring and mentally challenging. I also did the second walk 3 days after doing the first, which was very difficult as my body was still very sore and I had the worst blisters possible. My feet were torn to shreds.
The biggest highlights, however, were the support I received from everyone, the people who offered to come do some kms with me and the plenty of people who did do some kms with me. It is a lot easier walking with someone than by yourself. Also, the self-satisfaction you get after achieving something you set out to do is such a good feeling, as well as overcoming a big mental and physical challenge.
What would you say to someone else wanting to make a difference?
Just do it. You limit yourself a lot in your life thinking you can’t do something because it’s too hard when really you can. The number of meaningful conversations this challenge has started is so valuable, and has led people to do further research and educate themselves on Parkinson’s. Also, the amount of people who have reached out to offer their support and help in any way they can is worth more than any donation. Although $3,400 is very handy and will go along way to helping slow down Parkinson’s.Shake It Up fundraiser Jordan says the impact of a fundraising challenge goes beyond donations - meaningful conversations, greater awareness and more education about Parkinson's are incredibly valuable too. Click To Tweet