Two friends from Birchington will walk the 180-mile inner boundary of Kent to raise vital funds for Parkinson’s UK.
Samantha Glynn and her friend Caroline Warwick will walk with Caroline’s 11-year-old dog Eve, beginning in February.
The pair met while working together as science tutors. They came up with the idea to support the charity while out on their regular walks.
Samantha was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s in August 2019 and Caroline’s mother sadly passed away with Parkinson’s in 2015.
Samantha, 47, said: “My grandfather and my auntie also both had Parkinson’s. It can severely affect everyday life in its later stages and carers can find it particularly tough too.
“When I was diagnosed, quite frankly, I cried. But since then I’ve maintained a good positive attitude thanks to my family, friends, neurologist, Parkinson’s nurse and encouragement from Parkinson’s UK. The medication helps a lot but I do find myself getting tired easily and my tremors get noticeably worse under stress.”
Parkinson’s is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world, and currently there is no cure. It affects around 145,000 people in the UK.
Samantha and Caroline are aiming to raise £500 for Parkinson’s UK, which will go towards research to help develop better treatments and a cure for the condition, as well as support services for people with Parkinson’s and their loved ones.
Like many people living with Parkinson’s, Samantha finds that exercise helps her manage the condition.
She said: “Walking really helps with my physical and mental health. It especially helps me when I start getting anxious about something. I have set up a Voice for Anxiety Facebook page to help others with anxiety, as this can be a symptom of Parkinson’s.”
Samantha and Caroline will be breaking down their challenge into nine sections of 20 miles.
Samantha said: “My son Adam will also be joining us for some of the walks, as he’s been helping us organise the routes. He has worked out that we will walk the same distance as the straight line route between our house and the Eiffel Tower!
“It means a lot to us to be able to raise money for Parkinson’s UK, as so many people will benefit. I feel this walk will really raise awareness.”
Leigh-Beth Stroud, Regional Fundraiser for the South-East at Parkinson’s UK, said: “We want to say a big thank you to Samantha and Caroline for taking on this incredible challenge for Parkinson’s UK – we wish them the very best of luck and look forward to following their progress.
“With more than 40 potential symptoms, Parkinson’s can devastate lives. We’ve made huge breakthroughs in the last 50 years, but there is still no cure and current treatments are not good enough.
“Fundraising helps us drive forward the research we need, as well as fund vital support to help people with Parkinson’s to live well.”