Running with Purpose on the Road to Wellbeing

Andrew Lindsay has been with SAP for almost two decades. In 2016 at the age of 46 he was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease (YOPD). This challenging news motivated Andrew to become more active in raising awareness of YOPD and the importance exercise plays in managing symptoms.

“Parkinson’s is a degenerative brain disease with no cure, there’s no disease modifying treatments, but one thing that’s said to help alleviate the symptoms is intensive exercise,” he explained.

“When I was first diagnosed in 2016 there was limited research in the community on the importance of intensive exercise for those with young onset – that going out, getting fit, and being active is really important for managing and even possibly delaying the progression of the disease. While it is still to be scientifically proven, those of us that do it find great benefit from it.”

In 2018, Andrew and his wife, Mandy, ran the Melbourne Marathon to help raise awareness of YOPD and much needed funds to support those living with Parkinson’s disease. “Last year was great – we had lots of family, friends and SAP colleagues come to participate in the event,” he said. “We fundraised for Parkinson’s Victoria, which we’re doing again this year. In that way, it’s been a real motivation as well.”

Andrew says his marathon journey wouldn’t have been possible without the support he received from SAP in preparation for the marathon. “SAP have been fantastic,” he exclaimed. “When we ran the marathon last year, two SAP colleagues, Nicole and Michael also ran the marathon distance.

“In the lead up a lot of people registered and jumped on board and ran different distances. They also just checked in to see how things are going, which was great. SAP helped promote what we were doing at the same time, so the fundraising went really well.”

Running the half marathon this year, Andrew says he’s been training regularly through a combination of activities. “We’re not doing as much running as we were last year because we were following a full marathon program” he said.

“This year is more about combining the running with my normal weekly activities of going to the gym, Pilates and spin classes.”

According to Andrew, Mandy has provided him a great deal of motivation and support throughout this journey.

“Last year was Mandy’s tenth marathon and she’s a disciplined runner who does a lot of warmups, warm downs, and post-run recovery. She’s on the extreme level of doing things like ice baths – we live at the base of Mount Macedon near Melbourne, so last year during early winter mornings Mandy would have us standing in our unheated pool after our longer training runs.” Since his diagnosis, Andrew is conscious of doing some form of exercise each day.

“Parkinson’s affects each person differently. In my case, motor symptoms like rigidity, stiffness through my back and arm, and my walking gait are affected. I feel the impact of Parkinson’s most when I’m not active. At the same time, it’s had a positive impact as well since it’s motivating me to stay fit and healthy and providing an extra reason to get out of bed early every morning.”

Be inspired by Andrew’s journey by donating to his cause and learn more about how SAP is bringing technological intelligence to the 2019 Melbourne Marathon.