Friday Feb 21, Bone Marrow and Stem Cell donor Education Day in Tucson

Dear All, It has been an amazing and productive day amidst a fair share of dead end leads. The key is to keep going, to thank those I meet even if they are not able to help meet my needs right now.
I will not give you the blow by blow details but after traveling from floor to floor, room to room, elevator to elevator, department to department I was not able to locate the person or department at Banner University Medical Center that could help me today. But I did get to talk to alot of folks about how to join our national marrow donor program, Be The Match. And my meandering lead me to come up with some new ideas for working with hospitals across the country which I am already working on with Be The Match. So all in all my visit to Banner University Medical Center was very satisfying.
After my work at Banner University Medical Center I went over to the University of Arizona, which is just a short walk from the medical center. There I was able to visit with so many students: students from the nursing Dept, students from sororities, pharmacy students, students on the walkways, students in the ASB office, students, students and more students. The folks at the University were very receptive. It was an amazing and rewarding afternoon.
After Stacie picked me up. I was exhausted. I felt like I had walked 14 miles carrying my heavy backpack! I apologized to Stacie and Doug and went to bed early so I would be ready to begin walking north in the morning.
In evaluating my experience in Tucson the only thing I would have done differently is I would have arranged more days to do my “bone marrow and stem cell donation education.” The changes in my schedule did not allow me enough time. 😦

Thursday Feb, 20, A very needed catch up day.

Dear All, I couldn’t believe it when I reviewed my route I have walked for 11 days straight. My pattern is 4 days on and 1 day doing what I call bone marrow transplant education work. In rerouting myself around the Tohono O’odham Tribal lands I had to push myself a bit to make the schedule work. I also walked two extra days to cut the mileage per day down. That helped me a lot.
So today Stacie and Doug both went off to work. Stacie got out her laptop to help me catch up on some Steps To-Marrow 3 work and I got my laundry done. I even had time to go sit in the shade of her porch, which was delightful!
One thing that happens to me when I walk long distances is I start to feel uncomfortable, cramped when I am indoors for too long. I love the spaciousness of being outside, close to the earth. Earlier in the walk I remembered that feeling from my other two walks but it didn’t start right away but gradually I feel it more and more. I don’t think it is a good thing or a bad thing. I have always felt that it is a very natural human thing to feel. As one of my hosts on my first walk, a doctor, Patrick Sullivan, from Vian, Oklahoma told me, “It is in our nature, our species is the best walkers on the planet.” So for me it is quite natural to walk on the earth everyday, to breathe in the air, feel the sun on my back, to listen to the songs of the birds, and to connect with the vastness of the universe.

Feb 9, 10, and 11; Walking East From Gila Bend

Dear All,
My trail angel, Linda Buckley, continued to assist me with a safe place to sleep Sunday night, Monday night and Tuesday night! She also dropped me off where I finished my walk the day before every morning and picked me up at the end of each day on I-8. Now you know that I don’t get very far away very fast but step by step the miles pass and after 3 days of walking Linda had to drive 40 miles to pick me up at the end of the day. We had agreed that Tuesday would be the last night I would spend with her. When Linda picked me up on Tuesday afternoon she asked if we could take a roundabout way home and drive through Maricopa.It was a very pleasant drive as we drove along Linda mentioned points of interest like the John Wayne cattle ranch. She also included bits of history of Maricopa and its relationship with the tribal lands around it. She stopped so I could get a small tube of toothpaste and then we shared a meal at Cilantro’s. On the way back to Gila Bend from Maricopa Linda stopped so I could capture some pictures of the stricking sunset.
The beauty of the Sonoran Desert in the winter is breathtaking. A vast expanse of high desert surrounded by mountains all reflecting the colors of the sky like a boundless sea. I feel privileged to walk with intimacy on this sacred land. My commitment to those in need of a bone marrow transplant ever present. Please share with others the great need for diversity on the Be The Match registry and how to join by texting LIFE to 61474.

Tuesday, Feb 4, Deeper into the Sonoran Desert

Dear All,
It was cold last night! But I stayed nice and warm tucked down in my sleeping bag. I didn’t want to crawl out into the cold but I did. After an hour of getting ready I began the search for a ride to where my route ended the day before.
It took me a while so I got a bit of a late start but two ladies out for a day trip agreed to take me east on I-8. Both of them come down each winter from the north one lady was from Ontario, Canada the other from Wenatchee from my home state of Washington.
Before I left Dateland I arranged for a ride back to Dateland at the end of the day with Luis and Robyn. After 12 miles Robyn called and said that they were ready to pick me up. I walked another 1/2 mile and there they were. It was great timing because a cold wind was blowing and temperatures were dropping.
You wouldn’t think that I would run into many people to talk to about joining Be The Match out in the middle of the desert but I do! Lots of folks have seen the KYMA news story about the third Steps To-Marrow walk and they honk as they go by; I have a sign on my backpack that says Save A Life, Text LIFE to 61474; and I talk to folks at gas stations, rest areas, every where that I can. The internet is a great tool but good old face to face communication and connection is my cup of tea.

Jan 30, Quechan Tribal Council meeting

Dear All,
Pat picked me up at Sans End RV Park at 9:30 am so we would be early for the Quechan Tribal Council. It was a busy morning for them. Lots of people coming and going. I told Pat that I didn’t mind waiting because I didn’t want to feel rushed. He agreed and we sat side by side sometimes chatting sometimes in silence until it was our turn. Pat introduced me when we were before the council. They were very attentive while I described the need for increased enrollment of Native Americans on the Be The Match registry, the process of donation, the ease of joining, and more about the Jada Bascom Foundation and my walk in the Sonoran Desert. They asked good questions and said that they thought that it was a personal decision for tribal members. They said it deserved more discussion and that they would be in touch with me to let me know decisions that are taken. Pat spoke as well he elaborated on my walk and my needs as I crossed the desert as well as helping us to connect with the other local tribes. We both felt really good about the meeting with the Quechan Tribal Council.
Pat then took me to the store to get Clif bars, trail mix and sunscreen and then he took me back to the Microtel Inn and Suites in Wellton. It was sad to say goodbye to Pat Healy. I am grateful for all of his help and his wife, Sarah’s, help to!

Rita Noronha, the general manager,
at Microtel had said to stop by and see if they had a room available for me before I headed out for Tacna on Friday. She did have a room and as I thanked her she proudly said, “Of course, I am a Rotarian.” I told her I am a member of the Deer Park Rotary Club. And both of us brighten a bit from the connection.
We had hoped I would be able to attend her club meeting with the Yuma Crossing Rotary Club but unfortunately it was not to be. Thank you for your generosity Rita! It was great to have a good night’s sleep before moving further out into the wilds of the desert.

Wed, Jan 29. A much needed rest day

Dear All, I have been fighting a cough and cold since the beginning of the walk. Because of the generosity of the general manager, Rita Noronha, of the Microtel I was able to rest until 5pm when Sarah Healy picked me up for my trip back to Winterhaven, CA to prepare for my meeting with the Quechan tribal council on Thursday.
Angela and Hurley from the Sans End RV Park hosted me for another night. It was sweet to be greeted by a big smile from Angela when she saw me coming.
Resting and healing, resting and healing, resting and healing.