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Man returns home after hiking Appalachian Trail for Parkinson's disease

Posted at 10:53 AM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 13:53:52-04

A trainer in Florida is back home with his family after hiking the Appalachian Trail to raise awareness for Parkinson’s disease.

“I’ve finally done it,” said Ryan Beck, in his final video.

It took Beck 160 days, 2,193 miles and 14 states.

“It was definitely an adventure,” he said.

Raising awareness for Parkinson’s disease has been a life goal for Beck.

He trains people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in his Rock Steady boxing class. One of his clients is his grandfather.

“These people need to get moving. One of the first things they do is sit back and they are not exercising, they are not pushing themselves, and this kind of program really encourages that,” said Beck.

Beck helps train up to 100 people living with Parkinson’s disease each week.

“My granddad was my second client and my longest-running client now,” said Beck.

Beck had spent most of his adult life in a completely different profession but says it was his grandfather Bill who inspired him to start helping others.

“He got this diagnosis when I was 8 years old so I grew up with it. I didn’t really know how hard he was struggling, I mean it’s just my granddad right? It just made me respect my idol, my hero, that much more,” said Ryan Beck.

“I didn’t expect him to do all this. I didn’t expect him to jump in and get so involved. It’s just exciting to watch other people get the same results,” said Bill Beck.

Beck’s hike was supposed to involve others dealing with the disease. They had to cancel due to COVID-19 concerns.

“I was forced to keep my head down and continue my journey and spread the word about how fitness can really benefit people with the disease,” he said.

The pandemic made the hike difficult and lonely. But for Ryan, “quitting was never an option even one the hard days when I didn’t think I could go on.”

Seeing his family at the end made it all worth it for him. He also managed to raise money and awareness for Parkinson's disease.

“It was awesome,” he said. “Seeing my family at the end was the best.”

To learn more about Ryan's adventures, click here.

This story originally reported by JJ Burton on abcactionnews.com.