Doug walks for glaucoma
He might have impaired eyesight, but Doug Wilson has a vision.
The 75-year-old Tauranga man was no ordinary visitor when he popped in to the KapiMana News office recently – he had walked to Porirua from Cape Reinga to raise funds for glaucoma.
Mr Wilson is walking the length of the country, stopping at every town and city to raise awareness, and vital research funds, for the blindness-causing eye disease.
He became a campaigner for glaucoma when he was diagnosed with it in September last year.
At the time he was president of Grey Power in Western Bay of Plenty, and became convinced the organisation should do more to help.
‘‘I thought, this needs looking into,’’ he said.
‘‘ Why aren’t Grey Powers doing something there?’’
In every city he visits, Mr Wilson urges local Grey Power branches to fundraise for glaucoma.
He also encourages anyone who suspects they have glaucoma to get a doctor’s checkup.
‘‘ The sooner they can get treatment the better.’’
New Zealand is just four years away from a cure, Mr Wilson said, but researchers need a cash injection.
The Government ‘‘doesn’t give a cent’’ towards glaucoma research, he said.
Walking the length of the country seemed natural for this long-time outdoorsman, who walked a half-marathon this year to train for his trek.
‘‘I thought, I’ll put my body on the line again and go out and walk.’’
The trek goes against his doctor’s wishes, but he decided to heed police advice and hitchhike on the open road, walking only when it’s safe.
However, he left Cape Reinga on June 20 and walked all the way to Whangarei.
Asked why he would choose winter for his walk, Mr Wilson said not only was July Glaucoma Awareness Month, but he prefers to tramp in winter.
‘‘Touch wood, I haven’t had any wet weather as of yet.’’
He planned to reach Bluff yesterday, August 1.
Donations to Glaucoma New Zealand can be made to ASB bank account 12-3013-0180964-00.
Unexpected visitor: Seventy-five-year-old Tauranga man Doug Wilson walked to Porirua from Cape Reinga as part of a country-long trek to fundraise for glaucoma.