If there was one thing Clyde man Stu Watson would want people to know about living with Parkinson’s disease it is not to be afraid to talk to people, and to keep moving.
Mr Watson was diagnosed 10 years ago with a form of Parkinson’s called Progressive Supra Palsy, which has left him functionally blind.
It turned life upside down for the formerly fit and active farmer who was known to head for the hills for hunting and adventures.
But his determination and passion for life remains.
To mark his milestone 70th birthday next week, Mr Watson is planning to walk 7km along the Otago Central Rail Trail on Saturday — and he’s not doing it alone.
More than 70 supporters are going to join Mr Watson — walking, biking or piggybacking — on his walk to raise funds for Parkinson’s New Zealand.
A birthday celebration will be set up in a paddock part way along the trail for Mr Watson to enjoy with his family.
He has been preparing for the walk for the past month and can be regularly seen out walking with one of his three ‘‘girlfriends’’ (his carers).
Wife — and ‘‘No 1 girlfriend’’ — Paulette said it was important for Mr Watson to keep moving and he wanted to be able to support other people navigating the disease.
‘‘We didn’t know what we were dealing with . . . every person that has Parkinson’s, their experience is different.
The couple wanted to thank all those who had helped them navigate Mr Watson’s condition and were supporting the fundraising effort.
Donations can be made at https://givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/support-stus-7-kmwalk