Andy Rollin – “The Retreaters”
Team leader Andy Rollin
I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 47 although I probably had symptoms for up to 4 years previously.
My team is called ‘The Retreaters’ after our house name ‘The Retreat’ and consists of my wife Anna (who I met when we were both 15), my Mum. My 2 brothers, their wives and children. Our daughter Sophie, son Chris and his wife Amy together with our new granddaughter Matilda.
We are planning to cover the 100 miles by walking the footpaths around our home in Frampton Cotterell near Bristol. Plus, a wet weather alternative of an exercise bike. We shall also be dancing and counting the steps to add to our total, we have been dancing for around 2 years now and it is important to us because simply without GDNF it is a pleasure that we would never have experienced,
I first became involved with GDNF in 2015 when I became participant number 066 in the GDNF clinical trial. By the time it had finished my Parkinson’s had improved by 71% and my UPDRS had gone from 42 to 14 and its still 39 five years after my last infusion, if you factor in the 2 points or so yearly for progression my current score should be around 52, not bad for a degenerative disease.
I know that GDNF works, this is why I am involved with the challenge and why it’s so important to ensure that GDNF moves forward as a treatment for all the Parkinson’s sufferers worldwide.
We started our training last September and it has progressed well, with us gradually increasing the distance. We have found a new interest and enjoy the time spent exploring places that we thought we knew. There’s only been one mishap, we decided to do a nice riverside, circular route of between 5 to 6 miles. All went well until we arrived backk at the start to find ourselves, somehow on the wrong side of the river. This resulted in an additional 3 miles to find a bridge to correct the mistake, oh, how we laughed about it.
We are all looking forward to completing the challenge and feel that it is a really positive thing to be doing.
In view of the current and potential Covid 19 restrictions the Challenge Working Group decided to postpone the challenge until September in the hope that the restrictions imposed on all of us will be reduced or possibly removed.
In recognition of the faith all of you have bestowed upon the Challenge and the hope it gives for the future, I have set myself an additional personal challenge.
Dancing was always going to play a small part in my Challenge, together with my lovely wife Anna we will attempt to cover an additional 100 miles by dancing. This will take place between the original Challenge start date 1st April and the new start date 1st September, a period of 22 weeks, during our practice sessions we usually manage around 2 – 2.5 miles between us every week. So as you can see it will be a Challenge.
This is a personal challenge in addition to the GDNF Participants Unifying Challenge.
Roughly 50 days into the 100 mile dance challenge and have covered a distance of 42 miles and are still going strong.
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