After losing her husband, John, to MND, Denise Morris has decided to take on the upcoming Larapinta Trek to honour his memory.
‘John and I used to love bushwalking together,’ Denise said. ‘It’s [Larapinta] a walk we never got to do together and I think he would have loved it.’
Her husband’s strength inspired her
In fact, it was on a dream walk on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu that the symptoms of John’s MND really became apparent.
‘John kept falling over at Machu Picchu. When we got back, we saw a neurologist and he was diagnosed with MND,’ Denise said. ‘The doctor couldn’t believe he’d done the trek considering how far the MND had progressed and that spirit is what inspired me to sign up to the Larapinta walk. He really showed his strength and I want to honour that.’
Raising funds and awareness
Denise has fundraised for MND NSW before and says raising awareness is a huge part of why she’s taking on the challenge.
‘MND NSW provides fantastic services and equipment for people with MND as well as their families,’ she said. ‘Being able to fundraise and give back to them so they can help more people is another motivation for me to do the walk.’
While John had access to MND NSW support services and equipment to assist with his MND, since his passing, Denise has found solace in past carers days and support groups, connecting with people who have had similar experiences caring for someone with MND. These events are organised free of charge by MND NSW.
‘It’s actually another reason I’m taking part in the trek because I think it’s helpful to connect with others who’ve had similar experiences with a loved one with MND,’ Denise said. ‘There’s a kind of understanding between people who’ve had such an experience and I think it will help to make the walk even more special.’
From the old Alice Springs Telegraph Station to the peak of Mount Sonder, the Larapinta trail stretches 223km along the backbone of the West MacDonnell Ranges. Over 5 days, Denise, along with the rest of the MND NSW team, will journey along the most spectacular and rewarding sections of the trail, trekking over 60km by the end of the journey. The path follows Aboriginal Dreaming tracks and explores the beautiful mountains, valleys, rivers and the dramatic desert landscapes of the Red Centre. At night, the team will fall asleep to the sounds of native wildlife under a blanket of stars.
‘I’ve never slept in a swag. I’m kind of excited about that,’ Denise said.
The March for MND 2020 on the Larapinta trail is your chance to give people living with MND and their families and carers, access to the best support, services and equipment. There are still spots left on the trek and we’d love you to join us. What are you waiting for?