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When Englishman Gordon Barnes was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease 13 years ago he vowed to not let the disease stop his active lifestyle. His latest project, however, to walk the Great Wall of China, has elevated him to the rank of top-notch adventurer.
Barnes, 53, heads to northern China in May where he will join a group of 40 who will walk six hours a day along a section of the approximately 4,500 miles of the ancient landmark to raise money for the United Kingdom's Parkinson's Disease Society. He's already halfway to his fundraising goal of 3,000 British pounds.
The former soccer player and referee is no stranger to great accomplishments since his diagnosis. He has also seen New York from the top of the Empire State Building, stood on the flight deck of a jumbo jet, and even appeared as a royal prisoner in a production of the opera Aida.
Seeing the glass as half full comes naturally to Barnes. “The illness has never held me back,” he says. “I feel that I have experienced much more with my condition than many others have without it.”