Stopping Parkinson’s Disease One Step (Around Belgium) at a Time

Marketing and advertising pioneer John Wanamaker once said, “One may walk over the highest mountain one step at a time.”

Ivo de Bisschop, founder of the nonprofit organization Stop Parkinson, is about to show the world that the same is true for walking around the entire nation of Belgium.

Starting August 23, Ivo and friends will embark on a 49-day journey around the country, covering 1,500 km (about 932 miles). The goal? Raising money for Parkinson’s Disease research. Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that leads to shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with walking, balance, and coordination, and symptoms usually get worse over time.

Every step Ivo takes is money earned for the cause, since supporters of the Stop Parkinson Walk can “buy steps,” or give a tax-deductible donation to support the walk.

Although this initiative aims to positively impact everyone affected by the disease, Ivo’s reasons for participating are also personal. On the Stop Parkinson website, Ivo shares the story of how he was diagnosed with the disease at 62, counting him among the 35,000 Belgians who are affected, according to Stop Parkinson. More than 10 million people worldwide have the disease, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation.

Ultimately, Ivo is hoping that he and his friends can use their walk to direct much-needed attention to the disease and help fund research for a scientific breakthrough.

Keep Up with Ivo During the Walk

LuciadRia-based live map of Ivo's walk around Belgium for Stop Parkinson

The Stop Parkinson blog will have regular updates throughout Ivo’s journey, but those who want to keep up with him and his friends have another option: live tracking right on the Stop Parkinson website using LuciadRIA.

Ivo initially mapped out an optimal route for the trip with expert geospatial support from Hexagon, and he didn’t need complicated tools or industry knowledge to do it. Then, the route was converted to GPX files to be used in LuciadRIA for tracking on the website, as well as uploaded to traditional hiking apps to route Ivo and his friends along the way.

The LuciadRIA-based map was then created not only to live track the journey, but also to monitor and display how much money has been donated. Once the walk has begun, the map will also show events that people can join along the path and pictures taken during the walk.

To keep pace with Ivo during the walk or to support the cause, visit the Stop Parkinson website.