PQI Support Group Coordinator Climbs Mount Bartle Frere

Matt Newport, Support Group Coordinator for Tolga & District Support Group of Parkinson’s Queensland is climbing Mount Bartle Frere to fundraise for Parkinson’s Queensland and in memory of his son Jamie.

Mount Bartlmountaine Frere is the highest mountain in Queensland and the foothill to summit is entirely covered by rainforest.

Matt was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at 62 which was 5½ years ago. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive degenerative disease for which there is no cure at present, although research is promising.

At the time he was diagnosed Matt says he was feeling “totally exhausted and experiencing stiff muscles mainly on my left side. Once diagnosed I had an explanation for physical issues such as excess saliva, dry eyes, frozen left shoulder including left wrist as well as walking issues. I started medication with immediate relief. With a bit of trial and error with medication I was pretty well back to normal.”

Matt says, “The first 5 years is sometimes known as the honey moon period. The medication is not quite as effective as time goes on. Parkinson’s disease is different for each person and progresses at different rates and intensity”.

Matt is a firm believer of the ‘use it or lose it’ philosophy and has become very active trying to fit two days’ worth of life into every day.

“To do this I start sometimes as early as 4am and don’t stop until about 6pm. I ride up to 10 km daily, collect and repair push bikes, have collected musical organs. I play the organ up to 2 hours per day which has helped in my fine movement and hopefully by brain. I work in the garden and am writing memoirs of my time working in the rainforest timber industry.” Matt explains.

There are two reasons Matt has decided to take up this challenge of climbing Mount Bartle Frere. One is, sadly his son Jamie passed away in February this year, Jamie desperately wanted to get healthy and walk up Mt Bartle Frere with his father, but was unable to. Matt would like to complete this walk in his honour and memory of his son. Secondly, it is a challenge to himself to demonstrate that a Parkinson’s diagnosis is not necessarily the end of the road, “one door closes and another opens,” says Matt.

We wish Matt all the best on his adventure climb up Mount Bartle Frere.
Show your support to Matt by donating here.

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