Heroic Hike Ends, New Journey Begins

Brian Butler

Brian Butler, RN, BSN

Brian Butler just made one of the most difficult decisions of his life. He is ending his hike of the Appalachian Trail after 200 miles due to complications resulting from Parkinson’s disease.

Butler, 66, diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2012, retired in March from his job as a registered nurse at UH Cleveland Medical Center. Just days later, he and his daughter Erin stepped onto the 2,183-mile Appalachian Trail on a quest to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s research. He asked donors to support his journey by pledging one penny per mile, or $21.83.

While Butler’s hike did not end as he had hoped, his extraordinary efforts were not wasted. His story grabbed headlines and drew many supporters. To date, nearly $10,000 has been raised. Donations will support the research of Butler’s physician, Benjamin Walter, MD, Director of University Hospitals Neurological Institute’s Movement Disorders Center.

“I am choosing to look upon this as a success,” writes Butler, a U.S. Army Veteran, in his trail journal.  “I did make it 200 miles and to altitudes of 6000+ feet …  I have brought Parkinson’s disease to the forefront, collecting dollars for research.”

To read more of Butler’s own words about his decision to end his hike, visit his journal: http://www.trailjournals.com/cw5

You can continue to support the work of Dr. Walter and Parkinson’s research at UH by making a donation here.

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