Honza Dušek, a patient with multiple sclerosis on a wheelchair at the St. James pilgrimage from Logrono to Santiago de Compostela. With his friends is going to cover a distance of over 600 km and perhaps even a bit further.
Author: Petr Hirsch
“I want to go to Santiago” was the sentence Peter heard from Honza one day in summer of 2016. The decision was made at that very moment. My thoughts on how to get a guy with a multiple sclerosis who is on a wheelchair to Santiago de Compostela were running through my head all over again. We do like challenges and we do like obstacles. That is why the final decision was made very fast. But the hardest decision is always the first step. But we made it that day in summer.
Our goal is to reach a distance of 600 km from Logroňo to Santiago de Compostela in 34 days. It is probably not a big deal to go by foot with a little backpack. But on a wheelchair? That sounds a little tougher, right? Honza intends to go on an electric wheelchair. If the circumstances let us, his 9 year old son Jenda will join him on his journey. Many friends will go as accompaniment. If everything works out and we will have some time left, we would like to continue with our journey a little further, to the end of world itself (Fisterra). And with all that, we still want a little more and that is to document our journey and shoot a document “Camino on the wheels”. We want this to be a proof that life doesn’t end once you are on a wheelchair. We want to catch the atmosphere of Camino, also known as Saint Jacob’s pilgrimage based on a Honza’s story. He wants to motivate and encourage others to overcome one’s limits.
We are going to head out on 10th of May and come back 12th of June this year. We will follow Saint Jacob's pilgrim-path on the main “French road” straight to place of pilgrimage in Santiago de Compostela. We believe that 600 km is a distance we are able to reach. There are many obstacles we will have to go through. That is why we are trying to prepare well and find out as many information as possible. There are more than 250 thousands of wanderers heading to Santiago- by foot, by bicycle or even on horses. But only about hundred of them will reach the goal on a wheelchair. I hope Honza will be soon one of those who will stand in front of that beautiful basilica in Santiago.
Past few weeks Honza has been feeling weaker and it may happen that he won’t be even able to control his electric wheelchair. If that happens, there’s no other option than to push him on a regular wheelchair straight to Santiago. We are getting ready for this option also. We found out the most practical information thanks to Ladislava Blažková who made her journey to Santiago in 2015.
Part of the team will get to the start of our journey in the city of Logroňo by plane and part will get there by our escort vehicle. We decided for escort vehicle for many reasons. So we can easily carry around Honza’s equipment but also to carry around all technology needed for filming the document. As we mentioned above, Honza would like to bear witness about his journey and not to keep it for himself. The document “Camino on the wheels” will show pleasures and sorrows of such journey. Its goal is to prove that something seemingly impossible can be done. Where there's a will there's a way. And Honza’s favorite quote of famous scientist Steven Hawking is: “Where there is life, there is also hope.” And Honza’s hope is to mitigate and slow down symptoms of his illness or perhaps even healing. Many wanderers have experienced miracles on their Saint Jacob's pilgrim-path.
“ErEsKa” that is how Czech patients with multiple sclerosis call it, is an incurable neurological disease occurring mostly to younger people. Its cause is not known yet. Honda has been a patient for 13 years already and because he has been diagnosed with severe form of multiple sclerosis, he has been on wheel chair for past 5 years. His dream is to show other handicapped people and especially people with this illness which is about 20 thousand people in the Czech Republic that life doesn’t end once you’re on a wheelchair. There’s a village called Žireč close to Dvůr Králové nad Labem where Honza lives. House of Saint Josepf is located in Žireč. It is the only facility in the Czech Republic which specialized on help and support for people with this illness. We want to visit clients of this facility before our pilgrimage. We will write down their wishes and messages and then take them along hopefully to the end of journey where we tend to send them to the world. We would like to revisit House of Saint Joseph once we come back and walk about out experience.
Mgr. Radomíra Charvátová
Currently not assigned
To ask why we do this is the same as to ask why we breathe. :-)
Honza desires to do a pilgrimage to Santiago. Petr loves wandering, long-distance walking and wants to help and encourage people to pursue their dreams. Eva loves stories and directing. Tomáš is passionate cameraman. So why not put it all together and create something special? Everyone is ready to do it with their heart, to give something of each other selves. Unfortunately that is not enough in this age. You need for everything. Honza gets disability pension and supports his three children. What is true is that he doesn’t have enough sources for this journey. Making a document also needs some extra costs. We believe we will each need 15 EUR a day for our pilgrimage. Airline tickets, escort car are other costs we need to cover. And that is why we are here on HitHit to ask for your support. Come join us on our journey. You won’t regret. There will be videos, photos, daily updates on social media and on a website P o U t N í K. There might even be an online broadcast but we can’t promise yet. But mainly we will bring memories back and we will be more than happy to share them with you, maybe during premiere of created document.
Thanks for your support.
Camino na kolečkách - Camino on wheels