I was born October 8th,1950, in Douglas, Georgia. We moved to Florida. At the age of three, a car ran over me. The doctors told mom and dad their son may never walk again. With the help of therapists, a lot of prayers and God, I was back up in no time. I graduated from high school in 1968 and immediately began my naval service. I recieved an honorable discharge.
The next several years of my life included marriage to a wonderful lady. We had 2 wonderful children. I had not been and still was not a runner, at this point in time.
In June of 2000 dad died with alzheimer’s disease. He was 75 years old.
9 months later I was in ICU with an almost life ending bleeding ulcer. I weighed 272 lbs. I made a promise to God on the first of the 4 mornings spent there. March 27th, 2001 is the date I made that promise.
If God would get me out of ICU alive, I would do the following. I would work to get in good physical shape and then spend the rest of my life helping as many people as possible.
I went to a food pyramid diet, light aerobics and light resistance workouts on alternate days. Total weight lost, was around 100 lbs in eleven months. In 2006, for the first time in my life, I became a runner, at the age of 56.
During this 10 year transition and training period, the promise I made in ICU did not come to mind often. I set a few long distance running goals and one by one completed them. Upon completion of the last goal, the second part of the promise immediately started holding me accountable.
Now I was ready! I was excited!
Time to help people! Time to get involved in the fight against alzheimer’s disease.
The trip was to promote fitness, and raise awareness and money for the Alzheimer’s Association.
We traveled on foot for 2,594 miles. Another 450 miles in a car.
It was pronounced a very successful trip. The Epic Journey indeed accomplished what it was designed to do. No, I didn’t design it to do that, but it has become forever clear to me that God had a plan from the start.
“Although there are many paths up the mountain, one small step is the only way to begin the climb. And always remember you are not alone and there will be help along the way.”
Some of the help, mentioned in the quote above, we knew of, some we may never know of, but we know such help existed.
Across the Land appreciates all of the help. We have all made an enormous impact in the fight with alzheimers disease. Here are a few impact points we played a part in achieving.
$34,000 donated to the Alzheimer’s Association
Over 60 television interviews that mentioned the Alzheimer’s Association
Over 100 newspaper interviews that mentioned the Alzheimer’s Association
Over 20 radio interviews that mentioned the Alzheimer’s Association
Gave out the 24/7 helpline number to thousands of people
Met 17 Alzheimer’s research scientists.
Spent nights in over 50 senior facilities.
Met 4 Governors
Met 3 Lt. Governors
Their is no way to place a monetary value on the media. What would it have cost to purchase? Most of it made mention of the Alzheimer’s Association and gave out the Helpline phone number. This was mostly set up through Alzheimer’s Association contacts.
We shared a lot of information personally with caregivers that could help them deal with alzheimers disease. We put cards and/or bracelets in the hands of over 5000 people.The cards and bracelets had the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline phone number on them.
I ran a little, jogged a little more than ran, and probably walked a majority of the time. I pushed “Wilson” and he carried the gear I needed. We were a team.
This website has been accessed in over 120 countries, and has over 216,000 views. The first post was on March 17th, 2012.
This project has been successful at promoting fitness, raising awareness and money for the Alzheimer’s Association.This project consist of hundreds of people.
May God bless us all!