Marshall and Me out and about //13 years ago my little finger began to shake. Six months later, and after a number of other signs the medicos confirmed what I knew already - I had Parkinsons (a progressive neurological movement disorder). The tremor was a small thing that, with the other symptoms, would initially disappear with the medication I took. Would things get worse I asked? Yes they would I was told and they have. It was different for every one I was told. I chased down this fellow who was further down the track with the same disease whom I heard road a Harley. I asked him if he still rode, he looked at me as if I was an idiot - now I know why.
At the time I was International Secretary of God’s Squad and had taken a strong supporting role to Smithy, Ducky and others as we oversaw the expansion of the club. In 2007 it was clear my health could not sustain the energy required to maintain my family, work and Squad. I retired and soon after gave up my bike riding for fear of hurting my mates or myself. I struggled through 2008-9 to work out whether I was still called or not to the club, but I did not feel called away. Although I could no longer do what is typically required of a member I have discovered that there are other ways to serve. God has given me a gift in being a reasonable preacher and teacher of his word. I love the fellowship and friendships I have developed in and out of the club through Squad.
Around this time I had a brain operation that helped - but even so - it was very clear that my riding days were over. The disease, recently, has not being very kind to me and is making life harder. I have had to stop working. As a bloke this has been very difficult. Thanks to my wife Paula for her love and support during this time.
Recently some mates in the club have had me on their bike as a pillion and have offered other help and prayers, thank you. Just last week the Melbourne chapter laid hands on me and prayed for me. It was a special time. I also felt specially honoured in England at the 15th anniversary of the UK chapter thanks again.
The outlaw scene has been on the whole remarkably understanding of my disease. I’m still out and about and “I am glad I have not got what you have” or “I am glad you’re still around” are the comments I get when friends take me aside. Most clubs are aware of it but as happened recently my body can at times make people think I am drug affected.
At 54 I am not old, but this disease makes me older than I am. It’s all relative though. Last Friday I conducted a funeral for a man who died because of his disability at 42. So now when I fall over I get up cos I can, and always do what I can with what I have. It makes me admire Smithy more for the pace he has kept for so many years
Life itself is inherently risky especially if you did not choose your parents well! When you marry you take a huge risk. Having children is risky. Mothers giving birth especially if they’re teenage girls in places like Ethiopia face awesome risks. Riding a motorcycle, trusting others, being in God’s Squad… My faith certainly has been challenged. My struggle with accepting the disease and getting on with following Jesus is as normal as anyone’s. At times I feel strong and other times I need to be carried by others and my mates in the club. I have had much prayer for healing, God has not chosen to yet. I am still called to God’s Squad. Thank you to the Squad community for your support of that call.