2 coasts ... 1 HOPE

On January 6th 2009, I will be flying out to LA and walking back to Boston, raising money for cancer research. The route I'm taking should take 5 months and cover roughly 3,800 miles. We will be filming the entire trip for an upcoming documentary.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Which came first the "walk" or the "reason" ?

Sorry, this is a bad picture taken in a coffee house bathroom mirror. It is my tattoo on my chest that says "MA" which is what we called my grandmother. She was, with the exception of my mom, the most important woman in my life. I bring this up because people who I've met, ask if cancer has effected me personally and I tell them I lost my grandmother 15 years ago. Fifteen years seems like a long time for someone to finally get up and do something in some one's memory. The fact is it hasn't been 15 years since I've done something in her memory, I do something everyday. I wake up, take a breath and try to be the best grandson I can be.

I woke up this morning feeling I needed to defend my choice of accepting rides on my "walk" across America. The fact is, the walk is an amazing side note to a bigger picture. If I were walking just to say I did it, I would have given up weeks ago. Surprised to hear that? Don't be, this is hard. I miss my family. I miss my friends. And I miss the hell out of my girlfriend. But I made a promise and a commitment to raise money and awareness of this terrible disease.

I want to walk from coast-to-coast, but more importantly I want to reach people. If this means accepting the kindness of strangers who offer a ride to the next town, well... Walking in the desert for days on end doesn't get the message out. Each person who I've rode with has lost someone to cancer, a wife, a father, an uncle. Those people's stories touched me and I hope my efforts touched them. In fact I know it did because they told me.

I'm currently one week ahead of my scheduled arrival into Dallas to meet Kelly. I intend to spend the next few days in the city of Las Cruces, NM looking for a way to spread the word of what I'm doing. Whether it's newspaper, radio, tv, or standing outside the McDonald's greeting people.

Am I walking every step of the 3,800 mile route that I had planned? No. Do I regret taking those rides? No. If I let anyone down by that statement, I'm sorry. Truly I am. "Jesse Walks America" is about raising awareness and money for cancer research, not about the number of miles my feet hit the ground.

When I take my last step on this journey I want to feel like I made a difference. Walking from coast-to-coast isn't heroic, making an impact on some one's life is. If I can help someone from losing their "Ma", then I've done something to be proud of.

So please keep following me whether it's walking or catching a ride to the next town. And if you haven't made a donation, please do. We still are making a difference, one donation and one mile at a time.

Day 30 total: 0
Jesse Walks America total walked: 521.4
Jesse Walks America total rode: 276

p.s. I walked across the border into New Mexico today.


MUM said...

You have nothing to feel bad about. You are reaching people about the importance of research, and awareness.
Sure it's an awesome adventure for you, but you did start this with the HOPE that no one else would lose their "MA". The truth is many, too many have died during your journey.
Keep your chin up. We all think you under estimated 3,800 anyway so you might even make that up. Heck you can walk back and forth to Boston a few times.
Love You.

frank Lima said...

hey Jes, You need to realize no matter what--you are Caitlyn's "hero". That made a BIG impact on my life. I've always been proud of what you are doin', but that just floored me, and made me think--what a GREAT job you are doing. I don't think kids actually realize when people (you) risk soooo much to give up their time,energy & life to make others aware. I Love you & i think you're great!!! Love You, Linda

Dave said...

Jesse, You need to remember that you put yourself out there in cyberspace and some people are not going to get the whole picture. You need to keep yourself safe. So with that said, I Love you and I'm proud of you. You're Ma's Jesse and don't ever forget that.
Love you, Honey

MUM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NANCY said...

No matter how much encouragement we receive we are always drawn to the one negative comment thats just human nature. You've got a lot of people who are behind you 100% and you know who they are and they're the people who will let you know if your doing something out of line. Your doing fine, connect with as many people as you can thats the most important thing. That's where the change will come from, from the people you meet who rally behind you. Love N

Anonymous said...

Hi Jesse, I agree with MuM and Nancy you have nothing to feel bad about and there are some people that look for the neg. in things. You should be so proud of yourself, you are doing this to help others not to benefit yourself how many people can say they have made a sacrifice like that. I don't know if this is okay but I'm having a Psychic Fair in Feb and while sending my emails I will put your website to check out and the weekend of the Fair I want to have something out for donations. I hope this is ok!! Stay safe Donna

missy said...

Jesse, you are awesome. And what you are doing is so get.
I hope everyone sends in what they can for donations. I am telling everyone I know about you and how great it is you are doing this for those who can't.
Walk Proud, Walk Tall and LIVESTRONG

missy said...

dead fingers, that should read GREAT!

Trek Light Gear said...

Best blog post yet Jesse. I think you summed up perfectly what your trip is about and I couldn't agree more. Keep on stopping into every newspaper office and radio station, and talk to everyone you meet about what you're doing. If those conversations happen on two wheels instead of two feet then so be it - you'll accomplish so much more.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully said. Keep doing what you're doing because, even if some days it doesn't feel like, you are making a difference. xoxo Love you