Thursday, May 30, 2024


SEAFORDE couple John and Heather Knipe have recently returned from Jordan where they took part in a sponsored 100km cycle across the desert in aid of Cure Parkinson’s. The cycle was part of a ten-day trip organised by former Kilkeel man Johnny Ward, better known as the blogger OneStep4Ward.

Johnny’s mother, Maura, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease almost 15 years ago and since then she has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the condition and to raise funds for its eventual cure.

Along with 16 others of nine different nationalities, John and Heather arrived in the city of Amman at the end of September to begin their tour. Amongst other places, they visited Mount Nebo, the Dead Sea, the World Heritage site of Petra and the Red Sea. On days five and six of the trip, the group took to their bikes and cycled across the Jordanian desert from Petra to Wadi Rum, which could only be described as quite challenging terrain in temperatures in excess of 30 degrees. Their aim was to cover the 100km they had promised to do when raising their sponsorship.

After much blood, sweat and tears, they accomplished their mission, but not before four people had sustained minor injuries as the result of tumbles taken when bicycle wheels got caught in the sand. Heather and John are very thankful that they completed the task, relatively unscathed and that those who had sustained injuries are recovering well.

Maura’s Parkinson’s Disease has affected her balance and so she could not ride a conventional bicycle but instead she took the rear seat on a tandem behind her son Johnny. This was no easy task for either of them, but they persevered. Parkinson’s disease is a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years.

This degenerative disease has no cure. Symptoms include involuntary shaking of parts of the body, slow movement, and stiff and inflexible muscles. There is also a wide range of other physical and psychological symptoms, such as depression and anxiety, problems sleeping and memory problems. To date, the group have far exceeded their target of £10,000 and have raised over £11,600 for the Cure Parkinson’s charity.

John and Heather would like to record their sincere thanks to everyone who supported them in this adventure with their generosity having raised £2,500. Every penny donated goes straight to the charity where it will be used to fund research to slow, stop, or reverse the progression of Parkinson’s.

Every two hours, someone in the UK is given life-changing news that they have Parkinson’s. The group’s JustGiving page will remain open for a few days yet and anyone who still wishes to donate can do so by visiting ing/jordan100kmcycle.

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