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Despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s, a Virgin Galactic ticket holder, 80-year-old Jon Goodwinn, is getting ready to become one of the pioneers of paying space tourists.

A parkinson's diseae patient john goodwin with their space crew on virgin galactic

Jon Goodwin, an 80-year-old individual from Stoke-on-Trent, took a leap of faith in 2005 when he joined the waiting list and paid $200,000 for a ticket on Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft. However, in 2014, he received the news of his Parkinson’s diagnosis, and he believed that his dream of space travel was dashed. 

Against all odds, Virgin Galactic surprised him by selecting him as the inaugural paying customer for the spacecraft, which has faced numerous setbacks and delays. Joining him on this extraordinary journey are Keisha Schahaff and Anastatia Mayers, a mother-daughter duo from the Caribbean, who earned their tickets through a charity draw.

Virgin galactic space crew with John Goodwin a parkinsons disease fighter

The trio will venture into space in August aboard Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft. (Photo: VIRGIN GALACTIC) 

Despite receiving a Parkinson’s diagnosis, Jon Goodwin has not allowed it to deter him from taking on remarkable challenges. Before his diagnosis, he competed as a canoeist for Great Britain in the 1972 Olympic Games. Even after learning about his condition, he has continued to push boundaries by conquering extraordinary feats, such as scaling Mount Kilimanjaro and cycling down its slopes. Goodwin’s indomitable spirit and determination inspire all, showing that he remains undaunted by life’s obstacles. 

A young John goodwin who is a parkinsons disease patient rowing

He said: “Three years ago, I climbed Kilimanjaro and cycled down, just to prove that [Parkinson’s] wasn’t going to get me, and [the spa,ce fli ght] is the same thing.” 

Jon Goodwin, in a statement by Virgin Galactic, hopes his flight will inspire others and raise awareness about Parkinson’s:  

“For me to go to space with Parkinson’s is completely magical. I hope this inspires all others facing adversity and shows them that challenges don’t have to inhibit or stop them from pursuing their dreams. 

I was already beginning to feel a bit of a slacker compared with the “Parkies” who cycled or ran to World Parkinson’s Congress in Barcelona – now an 80-year-old getting ready to be an astronaut nine years after his diagnosis makes me think maybe I should be a bit more ambitious with my fitness programme. I am hoping to interview Jon Goodwin in the next couple of days – let me know if you have questions for him.” 

Preparations are underway for the upcoming suborbital flight, where they will journey to the edge of space, experiencing weightlessness during the brief yet thrilling 90-minute flight on August 10th. The rocket-powered aircraft will be their gateway to this extraordinary adventure. Join their journey and watch the livestream August 10 on w.virgingalactic.com. 

Meet the Galactic 02 Crew on : Virgin Galactic: Meet the Galactic 02 Crew