Welsh Parkinson’s sufferer to take on 12 hour croquet marathon
A Parkinson’s sufferer from Cardigan is planning to take on a 12 hour croquet marathon to raise awareness for the condition.
Ex-logistics manager, Gareth Blake will undertake the challenge on World Parkinson’s Day on April 11.
The 53-year-old originally from Holyhead, was forced to give up his career when he was diagnosed with the condition which affects around 8000 people in Wales.
He took up the croquet following a taster session with Cardigan Croquet Club that was organised through his local Parkinson’s UK Cymru, Emlyn and Tivyside Parkinson’s group.
Ana Palazon, Country Director of Parkinson’s UK Cymru, has hailed Gareth for taking on the challenge to raise awareness of the condition as “extraordinary”.
The 3 main symptoms of Parkinson’s are a tremor, slowness of movement and muscle stiffness but Gareth said croquet offers him a “great release” because the gentle exercise helps him to manage his condition.
Gareth said: “We had a taster session last year with our Parkinson’s group, and while we were there one of the croquet club members came up to me and asked me if I’d played before because I’d taken to it like a duck to water.
“It’s something I really enjoy because it’s a great release. Where I play is only 150 metres from my door. The croquet helps because it’s exercise for me, and it’s gentle exercise too.
“I’m setting up a 12 hour roster so there’s going to be someone with me there all the time while I do the croquet marathon.
“There’ll be people there supporting me. People from Cardigan Croquet club are going to be popping over to keep me occupied.”
Parkinson’s has had a big impact on Gareth’s life with his tremor leading him to freeze when walking through doorways.
Gareth said: “Before I moved to Cardigan I was working in London as a logistics manager for an air conditioning company.
“Unfortunately not long after I moved I found out I had Parkinson’s. It put a stop to my work life because of all the medication I was on. I couldn’t operate machinery. It was quite difficult because some days I’d be there thinking ‘I wish I could go out and work’.
Ana Palazon, Country Director of Parkinson’s UK Cymru said: “What Gareth is doing to raise awareness of Parkinson’s is extraordinary. To do 12 hours of croquet in one day is amazing.
“On behalf of the Parkinson’s community here in Wales, I would like to thank him for what he is doing to raise awareness of the condition.
“The Parkinson’s community is filled with bold and bright individuals who are doing incredible things each and every day.
“It is vitally important that people with the condition feel seen and supported by their local communities, and beyond.”
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