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article image5,000 Miles Walked for Cancer in His Mother's Memory

By Andi Bryant     Nov 9, 2007 in Science
Last year, a twenty-seven year old Washington man took a notion to raise money for cancer research, left his job and took his first steps on what became a 5,000 mile walk. Today, Matt Gregory has completed his journey.
On September 1, 2006, Twenty-seven year old Matt Gregory of Bellingham, WA left his employment as a beverage distributor and stepped off on a long distance walk to raise money for cancer research.
After 14 months of walking and nine pairs of sneakers later, Gregory today touched the monument in Key West, Florida denoting the southernmost point in the continental United States, and jumped into the ocean, backpack and all.
Gregory had walked from the extreme northwest town in Washington State, followed along the pacific coast to lower California, and then changed his course east. Hugging the lower southern states, his journey encompassed a total of 5,000 miles.
Citing his mother Carolyn's life and battle with Leukemia as his motivator, he took on the challenge and walked for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle who he directly credits for extending her life.
Matt was born prematurely because of his mother's cancer, and both ran the risk of not surviving, but did. Carolyn had undergone a bone marrow transplant 1979, giving her 20 more years of life, only to succumb to melanoma cancer in 1999. He credits the Center for extending his mother's life and positively influencing his own.
Gregory has raised about $11,000 in donations for the Cancer Research Center from his walk, and hopes to put his story to good use in a book that he intends to pen about his journey. He's hoping the proceeds will help boost his donations into his top-end goal of $100,000.
Along his way, Gregory stayed in 109 homes, only 12 of those being family and friends. The rest of the time he spent camping. "The hospitality and the people really helped fuel this trip," he said. He recalled one event in which a 5-year old girl battling cancer herself, handed him a $3.00 donation. "Any time it was tough, I'd think about that and it helped me keep going," he said.
Of his adventure itself, Gregory said "It's given me a whole different perspective of the country. It might take me years to totally understand what went on in this walk."
Matt recorded his journey in a detailed blog he kept on his website where he talked about anything from weather, to his geographical surroundings, the people he met along the way and the discomforts he endured.
He continues to seek donations through an available link on his website.
More about 5000 mile walk, Cancer research, Matt gregory
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