Walking for Barry
On the weekend of 20 November, Keith, Judy and Michelle Baker drove to Bendigo to
support Keith’s brother Barry in the Walk to dFeet MND. Barry, who is 3 years older than
Keith, was diagnosed in 2015 with Motor Neurone Disease (MND), a degenerative disease
where the sufferers progressively lose the use of their muscles which gradually cease receiving and responding to the nerve signals being sent from the brain. It usually ends with loss of
the ability to swallow and breathe.
Thankfully Barry’s illness is progressing slowly from his feet, but with frequent accompanying
painful cramps in his legs. He is still able to drive and to walk slowly, and has not quite given
up his regular service as a lay preacher and pastoral visitor. The faith he shares with his wife
Carol and the support of family and friends sustains them on a positive course while accepting that at this time there is no cure.
The idea of an annual fundraising walk for MND has been gaining support across Australia in
recent years. While the main goal of the walks is for people impacted by the disease to get
together to support each other in a fun and friendly way, they are also very important awareness and fundraising activities. The Bendigo walk this year was on a nice sunny morning and
involved two laps of Lake Weeroona (about 3km) An estimated 300+walkers participated
including quite a few of the four legged variety. Last year Barry was able to slowly walk the
distance with the aid of a walking frame, while this year he went around on his mobility
scooter, accompanied by 20 family members.
The Bendigo event raised $12,000 to provide care and support to people living with MND and
to help fund research into the cause, treatment and cure. The Baker family raised more than
$2,200 which included $700 promised by members of sister Pam’s church. Across the state
during November over $204,000 was raised in similar walks for MND.
In the afternoon the highlight of the family get together at Barry and Carol’s house was when
their son Scott presented Barry with the keys to a beautifully restored former taxi that had
been modified for passengers in a wheelchair. Unknown to Barry, Scotty had found the
vehicle, raised the money to buy it and a similar model Falcon to wreck for parts, and spent
all his spare time for the past year on the restoration project. When folk heard what he was
doing and why, financial support came in not only from family and friends, but from as far
afield as his rockabilly recording associates in the UK. During restoration the vehicle became
known as the Bazmobile, which can be seen if you look closely at the rear window.
More details of Barry and Carol’s MND story can be seen on the MND Victoria website at
where they are being featured for this year’s Christmas appeal.
We didn’t ask our friends for sponsorship for our part in the walk, but any donations will
certainly be appreciated via the above Christmas appeal to help provide a better quality of life
to people living with MND.
- Keith Baker
St Margaret’s News