Taking it a step at a time
From almost losing his legs to pilgrimage
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.