Doug walks for glau­coma

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

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.

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