This weeks Shake It Up Hero is Will, who, alongside his wife, has set of to walk on different caminos throughout Europe and also penned a book (with proceeds going to Shake It Up) called “Youʼre the guy with Parkinsonʼs”.
1. What Drives Your Commitment to find a cure for Parkinson’s?
Among other things in my life, I was a masseur in the past. One day I received a call from a man who asked me if I could massage his dad who had Parkinsonʼs. He had severe symptoms of rigidity and could not move his limbs that had become set in various poses, meaning he could never stretch out in a relaxed way or sleeping position. Along with this, he had lost his voice and therefore was unable to tell others of his concerns, and had a set expression which prevented him from indicating facially how he felt. Even though I was providing some relief I felt helpless, so now having it myself, I am determined to make the most of every day, doing things that fulfill my life, and in turn hopefully adding to the lives of others.
2. Why Shake It Up Australia?
All donations go towards a cure and are matched by the Michael J. Fox Foundation. They also reward and highlight people who are involved in fundraising and/or doing anything that may encourage or inspire others to help themselves and others. Shake It Up is staffed and run by inspirational people who are perfect role models and fully support the efforts of those who are involved in raising funds.
3. Tell us what you are doing to Shake Things Up?
I promote Shake It Up as I and my wife walk on different Caminos throughout Europe. So far we have walked across Spain and France (800kms in each country wearing a Parkinsonʼs t-shirt), raising awareness and funds, and talking to people who have friends or relatives with the disease. I have since written a book called “Youʼre the guy with Parkinsonʼs” where most of the money from sales go to Shake It Up. This book describes each dayʼs journey accompanied by a short Parkinsonʼs reflection of the day, a Sonnet to describe Camino experiences and a photo that helps readers gain a sense of the walk.
Through having Parkinsonʼs I have discovered poetry and improved my prose, while also invigorating my exercising techniques, and my bookʼs intent is to bring these relatively new skills together. I have recently discovered a Camino in Australia and will walk that one maybe as a warm up for our next European walk. All our adventures are described on my blog – willtowalk.com.au
4. Greatest Reward?
Receiving feedback from others who have been inspired by my book or my talks into adding to their own situation thus making their own lives and others more fulfilling and meaningful than they otherwise might have been. Another reward is seeing the reduced stress of my partner who is able to live her life with a more ʻhealthy and positive individualʼ rather than one that is more of a burden. When I say that, I recognise that there are some, who, because of their advanced disease, may find it difficult to remain upbeat.
5. Best advice for people looking to Shake It Up?
Find your passion, or use the one or ones you already have, to make your life the best it possibly can be. While doing that, to then use the rewards from those passions in the best possible way to then enrich the lives of others from your own inspirational endeavours.