A 90-year-old man is embarking on the journey of his lifetime — walking a distance greater than from the East Coast to the West Coast to raise money for the fight against childhood cancer.
Dean Troutman of Illinois is 100 miles into a 3,500-mile walk that will take him approximately 12 months to complete, but he said the long road ahead is worth facing to collect funds for the St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
“I like to walk, and I’ve got to have a reason to do it, and St. Jude is a charity I think deserves it as much or more than anyone I can think of,” Troutman told KXAN Tuesday.
Troutman recently departed his hometown of Princeville for the 15-state walk that will end in Texas, potentially at the hottest time of the year next summer when temperatures climb above 100.
He is no stranger to a challenge, though, having tackled a 700-mile walk in 2014 in memory of his late wife, Dorothy. He raised $70,000 through that stroll and donated the money to cover the cost of a playground and park projects in his hometown. In 2015, he embarked on a shorter walk to Memphis and raised $10,000 for St. Jude, according to a Facebook page promoting the latest event.
His new trek will first take him down to Ohio and Kentucky; east to West Virginia, Virginia, the Carolinas; and south to Florida. He hopes to hit the Sunshine State by the end of 2021, then head west to the Lone Star State by springtime and finally head back home to the Midwest, arriving by July 2022.
“This year Dean Troutman turned 90 years old and is on the go again. He wants this walk to be the biggest & most successful of all,” the Facebook page states.
As of Tuesday, a St. Jude fundraising page for Troutman had already exceeded $13,000. Troutman is asking sponsors to give one penny for every mile. At his current pace — just one month in since the fundraiser kicked off June 10 — he is on track to quickly surpass and finish out his first year in his 90s doing something he loves.