ST. PETERSBURG, FLA -- Nearly eight months ago, Ryan Beck left to hike the Appalachian Trail. He started his journey in February, hoping to raise awareness for Parkinson's disease. His grandfather Bill had the disease for the 26 years.
Beck helped him exercise to strengthen his mobility. We shared Beck's story before he left.
What You Need To Know
- Ryan Beck's goal was to raise awareness about Parkinson's disease
- His grandfather died in May but he decided to complete hike
- He hopes to write book about his experience
As Beck hiked, he slowly began learning about the coronavirus and the impact it was having across the country and the world. He decided to keep hiking so he could accomplish his goal. Initially, he hoped to meet Parkinson's patients along the way and inspire them to exercise and keep fighting. He was unable to organize those meetings, but still feels he made an impact.
"Even though they couldn’t come out and hike like they were supposed to, they got to follow my journey while they were all stuck inside and that became a new inspiration,” said Beck.
He shared pictures and videos on his Facebook. In July we caught up with Beck via video chat while he was on the trail. He shared that he faced physical and mental challenges, but his worst day was in May when he learned his grandfather died. But Beck says he knew he had to keep going for him.
In August, he completed the hike and was reunited with his family, who he hadn't seen in five and a half months.
“It was a tremendous challenge. His was physical and mental. I think ours was super mental. But we’re better for it,” said Anamaria Beck, Ryan's wife.
Beck says he's thrilled to be back home with his family.
“We were growing together even though we were apart, so now that I’m home, I can see all that growth and I can see how they’re persevering through little things and sometimes I feel like maybe that’s because of what I’m doing and what I’ve done,” said Beck.
He's already looking ahead to his next goal.
“I am writing a book about my adventures and being out there during this pandemic, but mostly just being with my family. I missed them, they missed me and there’s just so much that I can teach them that I’ve learned,” said Beck.