Awareness walk for former cricketer diagnosed with Parkinson’s

Former national and Leeward Islands cricketer, Ralston Otto.

Former national and Leeward Islands cricketer, Zorol Barthley, has dubbed the walk planned for former national cricketer and footballer Ralston Otto, as the People’s Walk for Ralston Otto. The walk, which is slated for January 26th, will aim to raise both funds and awareness about Parkinson’s, the disease currently affecting Otto.

“We’re not looking at a distribution of shirts, we’re not looking at a breakfast at the end and I think the most we’re looking to offer at the end of this walk is some water which would obviously be donated and those discussions are being had. It’s a fundraising walk; it’s a walk that’s coming from the heart so it’s not one where people are looking to get back,” he said. “We’re looking to ask people to make a $20.00 contribution for the walk, give more if you can and even if you can’t afford the $20.00 then you give what you can,” he added.

Otto, who also represented the Leeward Islands cricket team at the sub-regional level, has been struggling with the disease for the past four years. Parkinson’s disease is described as a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects the motor system. The symptoms generally come on slowly over time. In the early stages, the most obvious symptoms are shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement, and difficulty with walking.

The response, according to Barthley, has been good thus far. “We’re almost working in reverse to get everything put together because of the outpouring of support that has come in from as far afield as Montserrat and even Anguilla where people there have asked: ‘Can we simultaneously host a walk on our own in support of Ralston?’,” he said. “On the ground, it has been tremendous and so what we have decided is that instead of having one route like assembling at the ARG and walking to Sir Viv, we want to open it up to the general public and we want to open it up to the interest groups and people interested around the country where you’d get in contact with us and say that in your community and your area, you’re going to walk from say, St. Stephen’s Church in Glanvilles,” he added.

The businessman and cricket commentator encouraged those interested in the walk to plan early and get their groups together. “We’re asking group leaders to contact me on 764- 3940, indicate your interest and as I said, we are almost working from reverse but in a way, it is going to be to the benefit of all. When we started the conversation, I did mention a contribution coming from a magazine to be published. We’re deferring the publication of the magazine until March but one thing is going to [be] guaranteed that all people who register for this walk will get a complimentary magazine when it is published,” Barthley said. Otto played 48 First Class matches and 29 List A matches during his career.