Six-foot journey

Ray and Rusty

Charity. Ray Brooks and his dog Rusty will walk from Ulverstone to Smithton next month, rattling tins along the way in the hope of raising funds for Parkinson’s disease.

Originally from King Island, Ray has family connections to Circular Head and when deciding on how best to help mates affected by the condition, he thought of those wider connections.

“It came into my head, that I haven’t seen anything done that way,” he said of fundraising events. “It’s always been Ulverstone to Devonport and [to the east and south].”

After seeing what close friends are going through after being diagnosed with the progressive neurological condition, Ray chose to act in the best way he knew – by walking, something the 55-year-old commits to nightly.

He also started an appeal on GoFundMe, an online crowdfunding site.

Ray and Rusty intend to leave the main street of Ulverstone on Thursday October 8, walking to Burnie and spending the night before rising early for an estimated eight-hour stint to Rocky Cape Tavern on the Friday.

Support crews in three vehicles will accompany the pair, as will friends on foot who hope to join in the walk for part of the journey.

Two-year-old Rusty, a staffy-cross-ridgeback, will also wear walking ‘shoes’ to ensure no damage to his paws from extended asphalt walking.

“He’s a bit of a kid . . . I’ve never had a dog like it before, he’s more human,” Ray said.

On Saturday October 10, local supporters will meet Ray and Rusty at the Stanley turnoff around noon to encourage them along on the last leg of their trip, before finishing at Circular Head Aboriginal Corporation, 10 King Street, Smithton, for a barbecue and some well-earnt refreshments at 2.30pm.

“It’s open for everybody,” Ray said of the gathering, “hopefully we get a few more donations.”

To donate to Ray and Rusty before they embark on their three-day walking journey, head online to www.gofundme.com/ydmhzg. All money raised will go to Parkinson’s Tasmania.

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