Wodonga's Di Ross is used to peaks and valleys. She's hiked rugged tracks and high mountains. One foot in front of the other. But now, at 47, Di is facing her biggest challenge - Parkinson's disease.
Di Ross doesn't look like the 'typical' person with Parkinson's disease.
The 47-year-old hiked the Overland Trail in Tasmania last month, and in the last 18 months has tackled both the Inca Trail and the trek to Mt Everest Base Camp.
But as she speaks there's a slight tremor in her hand.
A telltale sign of the disease within.
"The initial sign was a tremor in the finger," she said.
"And then my hand would tremor constantly, then my feet, and then a change in my handwriting."
Just before her 47th birthday, Di Ross was told she had Parkinson's. But it's something she's been coming to terms with for years - ever since the tremors first started.
Di was originally reluctant to be officially diagnosed as a 'member of the Michael J Fox Club' as she calls it, not wanting confirmation of what she suspected.
But the unknown became a heavy pack to carry.
In the end, it was a relief.
"It was sort of a weight lifted off my shoulders when I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s," she said.
"There’s no cure but you know what you’re facing and at least you can work to manage it."
Even now the uncertainty, the unanswered question of what the future holds, still weighs on her.
"It's the unknown, where am I going to be in 15 or 20 years? Am I still going to be able to hike or crossfit? That plays on my mind sometimes," she said.
"But I always try to see the bright side of things, I think you have to because there's always a worse scenario."
Di looks younger than her 47 years, steady on her feet, with the understated strength of a hiker. Like many people she thought Parkinson's disease was an older person's disease.
Now, she wants people to know, that's not true.
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"I always grew up thinking that people with Parkinson's get it when they’re over 60 or 70 years old but then Michael J Fox got it he got it when he was 29," she said.
"I’m the president of the local hiking club, Murray Valley Bushwalking Club.
"You can be fit and look after yourself, and still get Parkinson’s, unfortunately it doesn’t only happen to people over 60.
"I always joked I was going to live to 101 and get all the certificates off the prime minister and stuff - which I’m still aiming to do.
"You don’t know what’s around the corner, but it could be a lot worse."
When the tremors first begun, Di remembered Michael J Fox and recognised her symptoms so decided to tackle some 'bucket list' items.
In nature, Di thrives.
Bushwalking has allowed her to explore hidden parts of beautiful countrysides and to create memories with fellow hikers.
"I just love the people you meet," she said.
"You can be out walking by yourself and come across someone and become great friends with them.
"The places you can gain access to through bushwalking are amazing.
"We've got some amazing parts of our country and you can't access them by road but hiking you're able to discover places and see that beautiful terrain."
The hike to Everest Base Camp was long, and with intermittent tremors, slow, but worth it.
"That was the start of the initial diagnosis for me," she said.
"With altitude hiking you need to go slow, so going slow at that stage wasn't an issue it was more the altitude that held me down.
"It was hard work, you felt like a turtle at the end but it was just an amazing part of the world."
Even now she's been officially diagnosed with Parkinson's Di is determined to stay active. With adjustments she's been able continue her bushwalking and crossfit.
"It's slowed me down a little bit, there are certain balance issues I have, but it's not a huge impact," she said.
"With crossfit I was able to box jump but now I step up onto a box, that's one of the adjustments I've made.
"I can live the same life expectancy as anyone else so I just have to manage the tremors and one of the key things I've realised is I need to keep active."
Sweat, the stretch of muscles, pushing herself to achieve - it drives Di and, she believes, helps alleviate her symptoms.
Parkinson's disease causes the cells that produce dopamine to die, leading to issues with movement.
"I find they [tremors] are reduced while I'm exercising," she said.
"With exercise it releases endorphins - you know how good you feel after exercise - and I think that has some sort of chemical reaction and the tremors are reduced."
Personal trainers can learn specific exercises to to target Parkinson's patients, and Di wants the government to help fund the training so more people in Albury-Wodonga can get involved and get relief.
She'd also like to see more awareness around Parkinson's disease especially the impact it can have on young people, and for Albury-Wodonga to have a specific Parkinson's specialist GP so people don't have to travel.
"It's out there and it doesn't just happen to people over 60s," she said.
Di doesn't know what the path ahead holds... whether her tremors will be manageable, or if a cure will be found.
But for now, she's just taking life's peaks and valleys one step at a time.
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