Brisbane man, Eric Thorne, 83, is walking across Spain to raise awareness for his grandson’s illness, Transverse Myelitis.
Mr Thorne is walking the Camino, an 800km journey to the city of Santiago de Compostela that takes 30-35 days to complete.
While Mr Thorne is in Spain, he is unable to be communicated with, but step-daughter Maree Wallace, herself having walked the Camino in 2009, spoke about the reasons for doing the walk.
“The original idea was that by walking the pilgrimage you would receive eternal salvation, though today people walk the Camino for many different reasons,” she said.
Mr Thorne put up fliers, working with businesses like the Heritage Bank Cleveland to raise funds and awareness for Samuel’s illness.
“All up it’s estimated that Eric raised in excess of $30,000 from his efforts alone,” Ms Wallace said.
“On the Camino, he is hoping to raise some further funds, though the real purpose for him is to continue the awareness raising and to reflect to Samuel the willingness of someone to go through a little of the struggle Samuel has faced over the past 18 months.”
Samuel’s illness requires him to have 24-hour care and all the funds raised are going directly to support him.
“Funds donated so far have helped to fund refurbishment of the family home to allow the wheelchair, hoist, eye controlled computer that allows him to type and is also used to play computer games,” she said.
Right now, Mr Thorne is somewhere between Leon and Sarria and is hoping to complete the last journey from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela in the next 10-12 days.
Mrs Wallace completed the journey back in 2009, and spoke about her own experience on the walk.
“It was not that life was not good or anything was terrible, but sometimes life just happens when you don’t pay attention to the small things,” she said.
Mrs Wallace said the journey is an emotional experience that opens people’s eyes to most important things in their lives.