This week’s Shake It Up hero is our supporter Tanya, who took on a huge challenge along with her husband Peter, to walk a section of the Portuguese Camino from Porto to Santiago for Parkinson’s research. After 12 days of walking, 410508 steps, and over 290km they reached their goal, raising more than $5,700 in the process!
We spoke to Tanya about this amazing endeavour, her fundraising experience, and advice for others looking to make a difference.
Hi Tanya, tell us all about your Camino trek! Why did you choose this challenge?
We walked the Portuguese Camino. We designed our own way, combining some of the Coastal walk, the Central route and the spiritual way. We estimated that this distance would be over 260km. I had walked the Camino Frances in 2019 and really enjoyed the experience and the challenge. I did my first Camino with 4 friends and thought I would like to do a Camino with my husband so he could experience what it is like. I challenged myself to walk 100km but always hoped I would be able to manage to complete the whole Camino. I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself. We only had 12 days to complete it as we had booked a trip. I had no idea if I would be able to handle walking big distances day after day!
What sort of training did you do in the lead up?
I love walking. My husband and I walk each weekend. Leading up to this challenge we increased the distances we walked. We walked from Ballina to Lennox Head. Had a break then would walk back. The hard part was the heat. As we got closer to leaving for the walk we backed this walk up with a 10km walk the next day. We tried to walk 5 to 10km each day with the longer walks on the weekend.
What have been the biggest hurdles and highlights of the journey so far?
It was hard walking in the heat. I got hiker’s rash so I investigated how to manage this. I decided to wear compression socks which did help to manage this problem. I did a lot of research on how to prevent blisters as I know this is often a problem when walking a Camino. We wore 2 pairs of socks. One of them is toe socks. We changed our socks at lunch time and took our socks off at breaks to let our feet breathe.
The highlights are walking and talking with people from all over the world who are also doing the walk. The scenery is beautiful and you appreciate the details more as you are walking and the pace allows you to see more.
What drives your commitment to fundraise for Parkinson’s?
I wanted to fundraise for Parkinson’s to help support research to help people with Parkinson’s now and in the future. I wanted to do something myself as someone who has Parkinson’s rather than have other family members complete a challenge for me while I feel I am still able to. I loved the idea of physically challenging myself.
Why did you choose to raise funds for Shake It Up Australia?
I chose Shake It Up Australia because all funds raised go towards research. I believe with continued research things will get easier for people with Parkinson’s. Anything I can do to help in that research is something I want to be involved with.
What words of advice do you have for others hoping to make a difference for Parkinson’s?
I believe as people with Parkinson’s disease we can set a personal challenge. What that is will vary depending on our condition. I like the way it is a personal challenge so it is unique to the individual. I can see that progress is happening with Parkinson’s research and to be part of that research makes me feel more proactive about the future.
It is great to have people support our personal challenges and Shake It Up Australia. Any amount small or large goes towards research to improve the outcomes for people with Parkinson’s disease.
You can learn more about Tanya and Peter’s journey and support their fundraising goal by donating to their fundraising page here.