Couch potatoes, meet Bill Bucklew.
He’s walked a total of 2,594 miles to raise money for The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, hitting the road on Nov. 24 and finishing up on Jan. 31. But here’s the kicker: Bucklew himself suffers from early-onset Parkinson’s. He was diagnosed in 2012 at 43.
During his journey, he crossed eight states: Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. He wore out 26 pairs of shoes. He lost 37 pounds. He raised more than $120,000. But every road has its potholes.
His five greatest roadblocks:
- A 15-hour rainstorm in Texas: "I was walking with Jimmy Choi, another team Fox member, and the rain was relentless and pouring all day. The rain is particularly hard on my feet and caused blisters. We walked until around 6 p.m. in solid rain for 11 hours straight. It looked like it was going to clear, so I spent 45 minutes changing my socks, shoes and clothes... and within 20 mins of walking again, the pouring rain started again."
- An encounter with a pack of coyotes: "In Texas, (my wife) brought us some Chinese food around 8 p.m. After eating it, I set out to finish walking for the evening and coyotes followed me and I could hear them howling from all sides of the road. Some were just a few feet away."
- A total of 16 dog attacks: "Dog encounters were consistent throughout but particularly at night and during the first four states. I encountered everything from an ambivalent owner, who wouldn’t call back her dog, to a dog that attacked me at full speed, without barking, and attacked my walking stick in its mouth, gnashing it’s teeth."
- His stress fracture: "I had huge blisters on my both feet throughout the walk on my toes. I redesigned my shoes to take pressure off the toes some. As a result, after several days of wearing these shoes, while the blisters on my toes got better, it was tremendous pressure on the top of my foot."
- A run-in with a flying mailbox during a wind storm: "It was a beautiful morning. Within an hour ... the wind started to pick up dramatically over a short period of time. Within minutes, there was 30-35 mph sustained winds with gusts up to 40-50 mph. After walking for several miles into this headwind, and seeing all kinds of debris blow by like tumbleweeds and house siding, I went into a ditch to try and call an Uber, the hotel and two taxi companies. At that moment, a giant mailbox flew right over my head!"