KEY WEST, Fla., Nov. 8 Matthew Gregory, the Washingtonstate man who's spent more than a year walking across the nation to benefitFred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, expects to conclude his odyssey todayat the southernmost city in the United States -- Key West.
On Sept. 1, 2006, Gregory set out from his home near the Canadian borderin Bellingham, Wash., having just sold his truck and quit his job with abeverage distributor to accommodate his plans. His trek took him down the WestCoast, then from Southern California east toward Florida.
Along the 5,000 mile walk Gregory has been camping and accepting offers ofroom and board, along with donations for the Hutchinson Center. He's stayedin 109 private residences offered mostly by people he'd just met. "I didn'trealize just how generous they would be," Gregory said. "But cancer leads toso much loss in people's lives, and I really believe the average American isgood and wants to help," he said, pointing out that in nearly 5,000 miles ofwalking he's never been mugged and rarely been bothered by anyone.
Whenever possible Gregory has added to his blog diary athttp://www.mywalkingadventure.com and has collected video for a documentary heintends to produce when he returns to the Northwest.
Gregory has been walking in honor of his mother, Carolyn Gregory, who diedfrom cancer in 1999. She had given birth to Gregory prematurely whilesuffering from leukemia; he credits a bone-marrow transplant at the HutchinsonCenter for extending her life 20 years.
"My mother's life is the main motivator for me making the walk for cancerresearch," Gregory said. "We were both lucky to live. Then the HutchinsonCenter helped save her life. That's why I chose to raise funds for them."
To date Gregory has raised more than $10,000 for cancer research at theHutchinson Center. Persons wishing to donate may do so in memory of CarolynGregory through http://www.mywalkingadventure.com.
Gregory got the idea of a cross-country walk from a friend who suggestedthey make the trek together. The friend backed out, but Gregory decided toproceed. "This journey has allowed me to get to know the country," he said.
Gregory says he'll take a train -- not a plane -- to return to theNorthwest. "It just didn't seem right to fly back so quickly when it took memonths in the other direction," he said. "When I get back, what I want to dois catch up with friends and family I've missed. Just sitting down and havingcoffee with them sounds so good right now."
At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, our interdisciplinary teams ofworld-renowned scientists and humanitarians work together to prevent, diagnoseand treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Our researchers, includingthree Nobel laureates, bring a relentless pursuit and passion for health,knowledge and hope to their work and to the world. For more information,please visit http://www.fhcrc.org.CONTACT Christi Ball Loso (206) 667-5215 [email protected]
SOURCE Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center