Hometown Hero: Helping Parkinson's patients

Hometown Hero: Helping Parkinson's patients

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah has an impressive amount of resources to help those suffering from Parkinson's for a city its size.

That's one reason a man who will attempt to go a long way to help Parkinson's patients came to Savannah.

Bill Bucklew was an athlete in training at Armstrong State, but he's never done what he'll attempt to do later this year.

"I've done a lot of triathlons, done a little mountain climbing, been a runner my whole life," he said.

Bucklew was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2012, and in November, he'll walk across the country to raise awareness about the disease and money to aid in research.

"I think the walk will help highlight the fact that, from professionals to young individuals across the entire segment of the U.S., people are dealing with this disease in different ways and having different struggles, and I really just want to bring to light what that means to people," said Bucklew.

He was being enlightened in Savannah this week.

Bucklew is from Chicago but will start his journey on Tybee Island. He took some of his first steps on it at Armstrong earlier this week when the school's biodynamics department analyzed his walking gait so they could recommend alterations and what type of shoe or sock he should wear.

"You've got to understand, it's 2,500 miles. It's not like walking across the street. You don't even think about the socks you've got on going across the street, but if you've got to go 2,500 miles, the slightest change can make a big impression,"

Bucklew will also be working on conditioning with Olympic weightlifting coach, Michael Cohen, whose Get Excited and Move Program has been changing the lives of people with Parkinson's in Savannah.

"This is not just about one man walking across the United States. He's doing this as a fundraiser, to raise potentially millions of dollars for the National Parkinson's Association," Cohen said.

A team of local experts got to work down that road on Tuesday - Hometown Heroes helping one visiting hero make a difference for Parkinson's patients across the country.

"As you can imagine, this is going to be a 50-60 day expedition, so any small improvement I can make in efficiency is really going to help me to spend more time interviewing and talking to people affected by the disease," said Bucklew.

Bucklew will begin his walk on Nov. 24 - the day after Thanksgiving. He hopes to make it to San Diego in 50 to 60 days.

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