Tak­ing it a step at a time

From al­most los­ing his legs to pil­grim­age

Whitsunday Times - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

STRATHDICKIE res­i­dent An­drew Mac­don­ald has proved that with a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude, de­ter­mi­na­tion and sheer hard work, any­thing is pos­si­ble.

Three years ago at the age of 46, Mr Mac­don­ald al­most lost his legs af­ter he was in­volved in a work­place ac­ci­dent where he was knocked down, run over and dragged al­most 20 me­tres by a run­away cane train. The ac­ci­dent left both legs and feet se­verely dam­aged and his right foot in a state of near am­pu­ta­tion.

Un­til nine months ago Mr Mac­don­ald, now 49, was still on crutches and us­ing a wheel­chair, but on June 21, he com­pleted the fa­mous San­ti­ago de Cam­postella Pil­grim­age, an 800km walk from St Jean Pied De Port on the French/Span­ish Pyre­nees bor­der to the north-west coast of Spain.

Mak­ing the de­ci­sion to get off his crutches and do the walk was a jour­ney in it­self.

“One day, I just thought, what do I do now? Do I just stay on painkillers for the rest of my life or do I try and do some­thing,” he said.

Mr Mac­don­ald had heard about the San­ti­ago de Cam­postella Pil­grim­age and made up his mind to be­come one of the roughly 1500 peo­ple per day, to com­plete the walk.

Even af­ter six months of in­tense phys­io­ther­apy and train­ing, Mr Mac­don­ald de­scribed the pil­grim­age as both a phys­i­cal and men­tal chal­lenge.

“It’s al­most like you hyp­no­tise your­self away from your feet,” he said.

At the end of what took 48 days to com­plete, Mr Mac­don­ald said he felt ex­tremely grate­ful for the sup­port from his GP Kon­rad Kan­gru (Whit­sun­day Doc­tors) and Proser­pine Hos­pi­tal phys­io­ther­a­pist Cather­ine Welsh, who helped him on the even longer road to re­cov­ery.

“It’s still very hard and painful walk­ing and I’ve still got a strong limp but I can do it,” he said.

“And af­ter lots of pain and train­ing I fi­nally made it.”

IN STEP: Strathdickie res­i­dent An­drew Mac­don­ald, pic­tured here out­side As­torga on June 3, is about three-quar­ters of the way through the 800km San­ti­ago de Cam­postella Pil­grim­age.

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