May 17, 2007
Reported by: Britney Glaser
The National Institute of Health reports that one out of every four deaths in the United States is due to cancer and 1,500 people die from this disease each day. For the thousands of people affected by cancer, the research to find a cure is a top priority.
I had the opportunity to meet with one young man who is on a unique mission to raise money for cancer research after losing his mother to the disease in 1999. His name is Matt Gregory and he is 27 years old, but when he was only 19, his mother's life was cut short after losing a battle with melanoma. Since that time, Matt has found a new purpose in life by setting out on a coast-to-coast journey, on foot, to raise money and awareness for cancer research.
It's day 259 for Matt in his walking adventure across the United States. "My route is down the west coast and across the southern part of the country," says Matt, "and it's going to be about 5,000 miles."
Matt's journey began in Bellingham, Washington in September of 2006 and he will complete his 5,000 mile trek in Miami, Florida by this September. It was a friend of Matt's that gave him the idea to walk across the country. "I started bouncing it around in my mind," says Matt, "and then I had to turn to something personal to motivate me and that was my mom's life with cancer."
Carolyn Gregory, Matt's mother, lost a battle with cancer in 1999, but through his coast-to-coast cancer walk - Matt hopes to raise money for research that could put an end to this disease. "A lot of people's lives are affected," says Matt, "and sometimes it will bring a grown man to cry because maybe his mom just died a week or two ago from it and a lot of people seem to appreciate what I'm doing."
It's the kindness of strangers that keeps Matt's feet moving each day. From monetary donations to a free powerade at a DeQuincy gas station, people that are touched by Matt's mission are inspired to give. Debbie Eygabroad, an employee at Tigerland Convenience Store in DeQuincy heard about Matt's story and couldn't resist a small chance to show him that she cares about his mission. "We think what he's doing is a great thing and we want him to know it," says Debbie.
With powerade in hand and his fourth pair of tennis shoes on foot, Matt set out once again on the long road ahead. "I don't really see the trip stopping when it's done," says Mat, "when you're actually finished with something like this is when you can go around and talk about it."