Sat the 22nd & Sun the 23rd, Beginning the Final Leg of the Journey North to Phoenix.

Dear All, I can’t believe it is time to begin my journey north toward Phoenix. People ask me how I can walk long distances. How I can walk from Yuma to Tucson to Phoenix. The truth is I just take one step at a time. And I don’t focus on the end of the journey or on the destination at the end of the day’s route.
It is true that the journey is not easy. I sometimes experience pain, like blisters; or discomfort, like a day that is too windy or too hot; or fear, like running head on into a rattlesnake; or challenges, like scooching under barbed wire fences or climbing up a steep embankment with my heavy backpack; or uncertainty, like will I be able to find a safe place to sleep tonight.
I want you to know that this journey is like a walk in the park compared to my little Jada’s journey to defeat Acute Myeoloid Leukemia! The physical pain that she endured as an infant from the disease itself and from the treatment of the disease was unbearable at times. The discomfort of being in the hospital 24 hours a day 7 days a week for the first year of her life, with nurses, doctors coming and going all hours of the night and day was invasive and disruptive. The fear, I cannot speak for Jada and the fear that an innocent baby experienced, but I can speak to the fear that her Mommy and Daddy endured facing Jada’s possible death day after day for that first year of her precious life. It was untenable. Jada continues to face challenges everyday of her life as a result of the chemicals her body was exposed to as the doctors raced against time to save her life. She had a re-occurance of graft vs host disease a few years ago which resulted in debilitating seizures but she fought her way back one step at a time like a champion. Uncertainty, well we all live with that everyday don’t we. Our Jada’s uncertainty brings out a beautiful zest for life in this remarkable young woman I am blessed to call my granddaughter.
So how do I endure these long walks to raise awareness about the great need for bone marrow and stem cell donors on registries around the world? I walk with the inspiration from my hero, Jada. I walk with gratitude to those who came before, knowing that there are many who died because medical technology was not advanced enough to save their lives. I walk with determination for those patients who are in desperate need of finding their match for a stem cell or bone marrow transplant. I walk with aspirations that all of those who are in need of a stem cell or bone marrow transplant now and in the future will find their perfect match and have a second chance at life just like Miss Jada. This inspiration and determination, this gratitude and aspiration, this is how I am able to take each step forward on my long distance walks.

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