TWENTY-SIX people with muscular dystrophy took in the beautiful sights of Victoria's countryside Wednesday as they chugged along the Victorian Goldfields Railway.
It's wonderful, it's not something they could ordinarily do.Boris M Struk
The excursion was part of a five-day camp run by not-for-profit organisation Muscular Dystrophy Australia; providing sufferers with a change of scenery and carers with a well deserved break.
Muscular Dystrophy Australia executive director Boris M Struk commended the railway for having wheelchair-friendly facilities and said all participants loved the chance to ride an old steam train.
"It's wonderful, it's not something they could ordinarily do," he said.
He said the organisation ran four camps throughout the year at a facility based in Maldon, which allowed participants a rare chance to socialise with other people suffering from the disease.
"It's an opportunity for them to catch up with their friends," he said.
"It's a nice-sized camp where everybody gets to know everybody."
Mr Struk said the camps also offered an important chance for carers to have a few nights of uninterrupted sleep, as they usually woke up four to eight times a night to assist their loved ones.
The camp carers are volunteer university students completing nursing and healthcare degrees and they are able to adequately address sufferers' needs.
Mr Struk first became involved in Muscular Dystrophy Australia in 1985, a few years after his son Ryan was diagnosed with the disease.
He said it was a "devastating" illness in which "life gets progressively more difficult" for sufferers and their families.
Muscular dystrophy is a degenerative disease in which the muscles progressively weaken.
Mr Struk said that although the disease had come at a huge cost to his family, it had also enriched his life as it had inspired him to set up the organisation.
"My life is enriched because I'm doing something that makes a difference to the lives of others," he said. "The camp is fantastic."