Good Vibrations

Suitably attired in our Parkinson’s UK regalia, Rob and I about to set off along the Pennine Way to Hebden Bridge (13 June 2021, during my LETJOG trek)

Those of you who followed my Blog last summer will know that Parkinson’s UK were one of my three chosen charities, and that they supported me with inspiration and advice as I walked the length of Great Britain. In return, generous supporters of my trek pledged some very significant funds to the three charities as well as helping to raise awareness of their causes.

My specific motivation in supporting Parkinson’s UK was, and is, Rob Stubbs. Rob is one of my very oldest friends (from primary school days) who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2017. Rob has always had an enquiring nature around medical science, and he readily volunteered for active participation in research studies into the condition. Parkinson’s UK facilitate many such projects into treatments and towards an eventual cure, and their vital work is made possible only by the kind donations of sponsors and by the willingness of participants, like Rob, who put themselves forward for experimentation and monitoring.

Accordingly, one night last week after work, Rob made the journey south from his home on the Wirral to mine in Hertfordshire in order, next morning, to attend his latest round of medical research tests at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. Rob has kindly provided some fascinating images for me to share from his day’s work with the medical researchers in Oxford, and of some previous gait analysis work he took part in at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Commencing countdown . . .
. . . sensors on, . . .
. . . and Rob’s avatar hiking!

Aside from medical research projects such as those involving Rob, the work of Parkinson’s UK is impressive in its reach, extending from practical help for individuals with the condition through the provision of a wide-ranging programme of services, to a public-facing awareness campaign aimed at changing attitudes towards Parkinson’s. Further details can be seen on the Parkinson’s UK site:

And you may have seen this advert by Parkinson’s UK on national TV last year:

Rob’s fundraising for Parkinson’s UK through our C2C walk is specifically targeted towards the charity’s medical research projects. I attach a link below to Rob’s fundraising page, and this site also provides further detail on Rob’s ‘story’ and on his motivations for embarking upon the walk. For my part, I am proud to be supporting Rob on his C2C challenge and in helping to raise funding and awareness of the comprehensive work that Parkinson’s UK provides around so many aspects of the condition.

As they have done throughout my LETJOG trek, Parkinson’s UK are providing Rob and me with excellent ongoing support and advice, and our thanks go to Stephanie, Drea, Anita and the team for their time and care. They have also provided us with the following message ahead of our walk:

“Parkinson’s UK would like to extend a huge thanks to fundraisers Robert and Nick for taking on their remarkable challenge. Without the generosity of people like you, Parkinson’s UK would not be able to grow, expand its services, and continue the search for a cure for Parkinson’s. Together we can bring forward the day where no one fears Parkinson’s.”

And as an interesting footnote to this week’s piece, I have just today attended a meeting with a number of Parkinson’s UK staff and their external colleagues into developing a county-wide network of nordic walking courses for the estimated 2,000 people with Parkinson’s across Hertfordshire. It is intended that this project will pilot a more geographically wide-ranging exercise regime for those with Parkinson’s throughout the UK.

The Parkinson’s UK initiative to promote nordic walking as a therapy aligns with my previous writings on the specific benefits of nordic walking to a range of health conditions, as well as the wider value of this form of exercise both to physical health and to emotional well-being through companionable exercise in the open air. Rob and I both intend to take our nordic walking poles on our C2C walk, and the link between nordic walking and Parkinson’s UK will certainly lend added relevance and resonance to our efforts and experiences on the trail.

In Parkinson’s UK colours at the finish line, 14 July 2021

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