Hiker Defies Parkinson’s for Months-Long Trek Across Europe

by Megan Molseed

A Swiss man who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2004 has already completed an accomplishment that may seem unattainable to many. And now, he’s planning another even bigger challenge.

Yves Auberson overcame his Parkinson’s symptoms including muscle spasms as he took on a three-month trek last year. In all, the Swiss hiker traveled 683.5 miles across the Alps in an effort to raise awareness about the debilitating neurological disease.

“What motivated me to do this hike, is that I wanted people to know better this disease that is really unknown,” the hiker recently told Reuters Television. ” So I did something that I think was important and that maybe people will relate to. The fact that I did this hike, some people understood, more than I hoped, it went beyond our hopes.”

Auberson, a former professional golfer, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2004 at the age of 35. The neurological brain disorder affects a variety of the body’s functions. Parkinson’s patients experience tremors, difficulty balancing, coordinating, and walking, as well as many other symptoms. The disease gets progressively worse over time.

A Major, Life-Changing Procedure

Auberson underwent a major surgery in March that is designed to create a deep-brain stimulation through the implantation of electrodes in his brain. The wire stretches from Auberson’s brain to his chest. It works to send pulses in an effort to reduce Parkinson’s symptoms. Auberson has noted that he expects this surgery to provide him a five-year respite from the symptoms of the disease.

“Everything has changed,” Auberson said of the surgery. “Really, everything. I can do things I couldn’t do anymore. I have to be careful because I did not heal completely.”

Auberson added that while he realizes the impact of the procedure will not heal him from Parkinson’s completely he is grateful for the new chances the operation has given him.

“I will never be completely healed, we know that Parkinson’s disease is not curable,” he said. “But here, they gave (me) the chance to have a new life and this is so great because I’m operational.”

A Hiker’s Challenge Among the Alps

Auberson set off for his hike from Switzerland’s Montreux region. As he hiked, Auberson experienced the gorgeous landscapes and pastures. The hiker then went on to scale the immense peaks among the Alps.

“It was very important for me because I wanted to show that it is possible, even with Parkinson’s disease, to still do a lot of things,” the hiker said of his venture. “As I love the mountains, it was obvious that I would do this challenge in the mountains.”

Once Auberson’s inspiring trek was completed, he decided it was time to prepare himself for his next challenge. Although the Switzerland native is not ready to give up all the details of his next adventure just yet. However, he did provide a bit of a hint towards what he is planning.

“In this new challenge, there will be a bike, a tricycle, I will have a customized bike fabricated, and water,” said Auberson. “There will be water and a bike.”