OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A 25-year-old man is walking on foot from New York to California to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer.
News4 was able to speak with him, now halfway through his trip, in northern Oklahoma City.
At 14, Cody O’Connor was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare cancer that affects the bones.
The doctor [told] me I would never walk normally again in my life,” he said. “It took me probably 7-and-a-half years to actually get on my feet fully without my braces.”
Now he’s making that over 3000-mile trip, what he’s calling the “Walk of Hope.” to inspire others fighting pediatric cancer to never give up
“It’s also meant to shine light on the mental fortitude that it takes to get through the battle,” he said.
He says he hopes his story brings hope to those fighting similar diagnoses, and he’s already heard the impact that his story is making.
“What we’re doing is inspiring and helping other people’s children who have just beat cancer learn how to walk themselves,” he said “I get goosebumps every time I think of what this story is doing.”
Now he’s over 1700 miles through his journey, and he says the most rewarding part has been meeting with cancer survivors along the way.
“The ones that are in driving distance we try to touch, others it’s virtual conversations, phone calls and being able to be in and build those communities so that kids know and people know they’re not fighting this illness alone,” he said. “There’s a big group of us out there.”
He tells News4 even though he still feels the lasting effects of his cancer battle, he knows it’s for a bigger purpose.
He says his last stop will be the Santa Monica Pier in California, and he expects to arrive there sometime early next year.
“Every day of my life, especially putting my body through something I’m not supposed to be able to do, I’m in pain,” he said. “But every kid that’s fighting is in pain and we’re not gonna stop until we can inspire and help as many as we can.”
For more on his fundraising efforts, or to follow his journey, go to championsdoovercome.org.