Brighton man to walk length of Hadrian's Wall for Parkinson's UK

Russell Wood, 40, was inspired to support the charity because his father John was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 15 years ago.

The money he raises will go towards research to help develop better treatments and a cure for the condition, as well as crucial support services for people with Parkinson’s and their loved ones.

Russell said: “Shortly after his diagnosis we went for a hike across the South Downs for seven miles. He was a strong man and at this time, you could barely notice his condition. Over the years though, I have seen his physical deterioration. He battles every day with grit and determination trying to live as normal a life as possible.

“The most evident difficulty my father has with Parkinson’s is simply walking. On a bad day, it can take a painfully long time for him to walk from room to room - it’s actually sometimes easier for him to kneel and drag himself along the wooden floor. It’s painful to watch and not be able to help.” 

Russell is aiming to raise £500 by taking on the 84-mile walk. He will begin on January 23 and will be camping on route. He believes the challenge should take around five days.

The 40-year-old added: “I want to do something mentally and physically hard as a nod of respect to my father. Walking in difficult conditions is a very apt display of recognition for what people with Parkinson’s deal with every day.

“I am looking forward to the challenge and to testing myself. I am not looking forward to the cold, the weight, the numerous days of discomfort! However, for me, any discomfort will come to an end. For those with Parkinson’s, it’s a constant slog. It won't just be another fundraiser for me but something deeply personal. The strength my father exhibits will be a source of motivation when it gets tough on the trail.” 

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.

Leigh-Beth Stroud, Regional Fundraiser for the South-East at Parkinson’s UK, said: “We want to say a big thank you to Russell for taking on this incredible challenge for Parkinson’s UK and we wish him the very best of luck.

“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 services to help people with Parkinson’s to live well.”