Walk While You Can
In February 2018 Fr Tony Coote was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.
Following his diagnosis, Fr Tony came up with the idea of walking the 550km distance under the banner of ‘Walk While You Can’ and the hashtag #walkwithtony.
Determined to turn his experience into ‘a positive force for future generations of MND sufferers’.
Tony started the walk in Letterkenny, Donegal on July 10th, 2018 and ended it on August 6th 2018 in Ballydehob in West Cork receiving a hero’s welcome. It’s important to highlight that Tony completed the entire walk in a wheelchair.
Speaking about the walk, Fr Tony said he wanted to use the time he has left, and his voice, to do something positive by raising money and awareness about this disease.
Finding himself part of a vastly under-resourced medical world of lengthy waiting lists, over-burdened medics and medication that is over 24 years old, he was shocked to learn that only three specialist nurses cover the 400 people living with MND in Ireland.
‘By supporting the walk, you are not only lending your voice to our call for better supports and services for people living with this, and other neurological conditions, but you are helping make those supports possible.’
Reflecting on his diagnosis, Fr Coote, who has lost the control of most of his left hand and his left leg and he now uses an electronic wheelchair, said: ‘This time last year I was fit and healthy, I had no idea what was in store for me. None of us know when it might be our turn.’ The walk raised over €700,000, more than doubling its original target of €250,000 with all funds raised going directly to Research Motor Neurone for new medication research and to the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association who were able to hire a 4th Nurse.
Fr Tony Coote sadly passed away in August 2019 but his legacy will forever live on. In September 2019 we walked for Tony in Phoenix Park, Dublin. Over 1000 people came out in force on a glorious Saturday morning including many of the Coote family. We haven’t been able to come together and walk due to the Pandemic but Walk While You Can is still very much taking place in the communities across Ireland.
Because of Tony we hired a 4th nurse, because of you we can sustain this vital service. Your community walks will keep our nurses in the communities where they are needed most.
This September come together in your local area and Walk While You Can. Complete your 5k to honour Fr Tony and our 400 families living with Motor Neurone Disease in Ireland. Walk Where You Can, with who you can. #wwyc #walkfortony.