LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — A man from Cincinnati knows the importance of perseverance and beating odds.
He’s had a long journey to get to where he is today, but still has a long journey to go – several thousand miles.
It’s quite an achievement for anyone – but it’s especially challenging for 25-year-old Cody O’Connor walking from one part of the country to another – all in the name of pediatric cancer patients.
Cody O’Conner walks on a country road during his cross-country trip.
“At age 14, I was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma — that’s a cancer that affects nearly 400 children a year in the United States,” O’Connor said.
Because the cancer grows in bone, Cody’s right fibula had to be removed.
O’Connor is now in the middle of a cross-country trip… all on foot.
He started on June 17 at the crossroads of the world in Times Square – his goal… to walk 3,000 miles and finish at Santa Monica Pier in California.
He calls his journey the Walk for Hope and founded the non-profit Champions Do Overcome. It provides financial and emotional assistance to families so that they can be in the hospital near their loved ones.
“We kind of want to be a financial liaison, right, and take that whole financial burden, take all the stress away, or as much as we can for the battle for that family,” O’Connor said.
So far, O’Connor’s journey has taken him through historic towns and locations along rural highways.
But every step he takes is not without its own challenge.
Cody O’Conner in Times Square in New York City.
Due to bone removal, O’Conner’s foot points inward. The imbalance of his body, especially over hills, has already caused his hip to twist down and separate.
“When I saw my chiropractor while I was going through Cincinnati, that first adjustment was kind of painful, but necessary,” O’Connor said. “The feet feel sore as expected, but we’ll get through it, we’ll get it.”
As with his treatment, O’Conner is never alone.
A team of two to three people always travels with him and will be there when he reaches cities like St. Louis, Denver, Las Vegas and finally Los Angeles.
All the time walking to his mantra of just one more step.
“I was told I would never walk normally again in my life, so we figured out what a better way to try and inspire kids to keep fighting, take that extra step and we literally show that,” O said. ‘Connor.
O’Connor hopes to reach the pier sometime in November.
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