He lost 26 pairs of shoes and 42 pounds, but gained $120,000 for Parkinson's research.
Over the course of 67 days, Bill Bucklew walked across eight states — Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California — to raise money for The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. Six years ago, Bucklew, then 43, was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson's, and not long after, his father was told he also had the debilitating disorder. Knowing that his young son could one day be diagnosed with Parkinson's is what pushed Bucklew to raise awareness and money for research, he told Megyn Kelly on Today.
Bucklew has always enjoyed running marathons and climbing mountains, and his 2,594-mile trek was just as exciting. He started Nov. 24 in Georgia, finally arriving at his final destination, San Diego, on Jan. 31. Along the way, he was joined for some stretches by other people with Parkinson's, and he had some memorable encounters: In Texas, it rained for "11 hours straight" during one leg, and he was also followed by coyotes. "I could hear them howling from all sides of the road," he said. "Some were just a few feet away." He had blisters most of the time, wore through 26 pairs of shoes, counted 16 dog attacks, and while walking during a windstorm, he said, "a giant mailbox flew right over my head." Catherine Garcia