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June 2022 Issue
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I’m doing it to help manage Parkinson’s disease

Walking in nature is beneficial to those with Parkinson’s disease.

The Walk1200km challenge is helping Jennifer Andrewes prepare for the trip of a lifetime – walking 750km across France on the Via Podiensis.

Jennifer, 50, was already in training when she joined the Walk1200km challenge late last year, knowing it would provide her with extra motivation to go walking.

“I felt like I was walking quite a lot, but this has been a good way to tally it up,” she says.

The Wellington-based communications manager had long wanted to do the Camino de Santiago, which Via Podiensis links to, but life always got in the way.

After being diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease in 2019, Jennifer resolved not to postpone the trip any longer.

“It’s one of those conditions with more questions than answers, but what is known is that movement and exercise, particularly walking in nature, is really good for it,” Jennifer says.

Her trip was initially going to span three months and include the Camino de Santiago. Instead, she and a childhood friend have allowed five weeks in May and June to cover the distance from Le Puy to St Jean Pied de Port.

It’s familiar territory for Jennifer, who lived in France as a child and more recently with her husband and three sons – an experience she has written about in her book, Parallel Lives.

Along the way, she’ll be raising money and awareness for Parkinson’s New   Zealand through a blog and Givealittle page.