"I would walk 500 miles"

Terry Wilson has walked 800 Kilometres (or 500 miles) as part of a spiritual journey to honour the memory of his granddaughter.

Walking the Camino from France across Spain to the Cathedral at Santiago de Compastella, where legend has it that the remains of Saint James are buried, is also known as a pilgrims journey. It was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during the Middle Ages. Even today about 250,000 people walk it each year.

The 35 day trek was something that Terry (68) courageously decided he would do a few days before his granddaughter Maddy passed away from CF in 2016. And he also decided he would walk for a cure – raising funds for Cystic Fibrosis New Zealand and Cure Kids – and with his story featuring twice in the Manawatu Standard.

Terry says the spirit of his granddaughter travelled with him on the journey and since returning home to Palmerston North, Terry has drawn comparisons with his journey and the journey that parents are on from the moment their child is diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

“Just when a parent gets the news that their child has CF and find they are in for the trip to wherever it takes you, its the same from the minute you step out on the first day of the Camino – you know youre in for the trip no matter where it takes you.

“Many of my days hurt like hell, just like many of your days. When I rolled my ankle with 500kms to go I was told to take a few days off. Well the timeframe I was working to just did not allow for that. Sounds familiar? Yes, when did you get a break?” Terry asks the CF community.

Terry Wilson is back from his pilgrimage to walk the Camino in memory of his granddaughter, and featured in an article on Stuff which has also led to more media interest. Terry raised over $5000 on his Givealittle Page for Cure Kids and CFNZ during his pilgrimage and although it was a lot more strenuous than he anticipated, Terry's now got the walking bug and is considering more CF charity treks.