Monty spinning his wheels for the MSWA Albany Swim
Montague Walker was leading a very busy life managing a large transport company, and developing a new residential property for his family back in 1984, when he started experiencing pins and needles, numbness in his hands and unsteadiness on his legs. After an appointment with a neurologist he was advised that multiple sclerosis (MS) was his likely diagnosis. However, this wasn’t officially confirmed until the early 90’s when MRI’s became available and a more detailed diagnosis of Primary Progressive MS was given.
Monty, as he is known to his friends and family, thanks his neurologist for his optimistic attitude after receiving his diagnosis. “Fortunately, my neurologist was able to spend a considerable amount of time explaining the condition, and convinced me to try and stay active,” he said.
Living in Perth and aged 46 at the time of his diagnosis, Monty connected with MSWA and became a Member. The relationship continued to the South West, where he retired, and started accessing services at the Albany Outreach Centre. These include physiotherapy, massage, nursing, hydrotherapy and group sessions. Along with MSWA’s support, Monty’s wife Lesley, has been an incredible influence on his journey and in terms of adjusting to MS, he learnt to adapt his career to suit his symptoms.
“I had to alter machinery and vehicles to automatic so that I could still work. Once I retired, I went into farming for 10 years until my leg let me know it wouldn’t do what I wanted,” he said.
As Monty’s MS progressed, he lost the ability to use his left leg, and is now in a wheelchair. Now aged 80, Monty is committed to raising awareness of MS, and is one of Albany’s most dedicated fundraisers for the MSWA Albany Swim. His commitment can be seen on the day – as he does laps in his wheelchair right alongside the swimmers.
“If you can’t participate in the pool on the day, find another way to get involved! Asking friends, family and local businesses to donate, is one way you can do this. I feel lucky that I can still contribute to the MSWA Albany Swim, and I hope that when the swimmers see me turning my wheels, it inspires them to return every year,” Monty said.