SURROUNDED by family, friends and fellow stroke survivors, Dan Englund stepped off for the first steps of a 1000km journey that will take him from Emerald to Brisbane in the coming weeks.
It was a fitting send-off for one of the region's great crusaders of stroke awareness and prevention. And the emotion of the occasion was evident.
"To look back and see everybody cheering was just wonderful," Mr Englund said of the Emerald farewell.
He said it would go down as the second biggest day of the run, bettered only by his finish in Brisbane.
"It was the first of many small steps, but it was also a big step too," he said.
Another local taking a big step was Rhonda Thomas, who joined Mr Englund pre-run in the Stroke Survivors Walk.
After three strokes in as many years, Rhonda's everyday life has been turned upside down by the debilitating illness, not that you would hear her complaining.
"The word 'can't' is not in her vocabulary. She can do anything she wants to do," husband Alan said.
"I've never see her have a bad day the whole time. It's just full-on good attitude towards it all."
He said to be able to join Mr Englund at the start of his run was a special moment.
"It's a very emotional thing. It's just a fantastic thing to see someone recover from a stroke," he said.
With a new perspective and appreciation on life, Mrs Thomas said she was sticking with the cards she was dealt.
"Live life as it is," Mrs Thomas said.
Yesterday Mr Englund was taking a well-earned rest with his family near Rolleston, after battling the odd cramp or two. Today he will lace up and hit the road again before arriving in Moura on Saturday.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.