An “inspirational” York woman is to walk 100 miles this month after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Sue Garland, 71, was diagnosed with the condition – in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years – during the Covid lockdown.

She told The Press her symptoms “developed quickly” and now “seriously affect” her mobility and daily functions.

The disease also impacts her ability to communicate, particularly through speech.

But Sue is determined to show her support for Parkinson’s UK – a charity working to find a cure for the disease.

“Despite the Parkinson’s progressing I am a very positive person and determined to remain so,” she said.

“I have been supported by a great team of consultants, nurses, as well as speech therapy, neurophysio and counsellors.

“My independence at home has been helped greatly by a great carer, Lucy, and my family and friends.”

Sue started the challenge after the death of her husband Ken Garland on April 24. The well-known York businessman died peacefully aged 87 in York Hospital. His son Tim described him as his “hero” and the “fairest man I ever met”.

York Press: Sue, Izzy, Ken and Tim Garland at Elvington Plant HireSue, Izzy, Ken and Tim Garland at Elvington Plant Hire (Image: Anthony Chappel-Ross)

Sue, who lives in Kexby, said her family and friends have been a “great support” to her following Ken’s death.

She explained how many have kept her company on her walks which makes them "more fun”.

Her son Richard Garland said: “(Sue) has been so positive and despite losing Dad at the end of April, she has been determined to carry on with the charity walk.”

He added: “Mum has been an inspiration to all of us. Coming to terms with the Parkinson’s disease and its impact on every aspect of her life has been really tough.”

York Press: Ken Garland and his family celebrating his 80th birthday in September 2016Ken Garland and his family celebrating his 80th birthday in September 2016 (Image: Supplied)

So far, Sue has walked around 50 miles.

“Parkinson's makes me very tired in the afternoons and I can no longer drive, so I need to program in my walks around my daily schedule and medical appointments,” she explained.

Sue initially wanted to skydive as a fundraising challenge but said her diagnosis meant she could not get the medical sign off.

Her mind turned to walking 100 miles in May after her daughter-in-law spotted the challenge through Parkinson’s UK.

Sue also sings with a group in York through Parkinson’s UK which she said has been “brilliant” for her mental health.

Family 'so proud' of Sue for challenge

On Saturday (May 18), she will be walking six-and-a-half miles around York with her son and two grandchildren, retracing landmarks which have been significant in her life.

“Saturday’s walk will be a journey around those parts of York which have been so important to key events in her life. We anticipate some tears, alongside happy memories and funny stories,” her son Richard said.

“We have learned so much about Parkinson’s and how it affects every person differently.

“To be able to support Parkinson’s UK and specifically the York music group is something we are so proud of Mum for.”