A California man arrived in Toledo on Wednesday, on his walk across the country to raise money for a stranger who is battling multiple sclerosis.
WNWO caught up with 23-year-old Navy veteran Drew Blondeaux as he made his way down Airport Highway in Swanton Township. He is about 3,000 miles into his journey from California to New York City. Along the way Blondeaux says he has endured rough terrain, nights spent sleeping in roadside ditches, and scorching temperatures. So why endure all this for a stranger? Blondeaux says, â??To pay it forward with a random act of kindness.â??
He is walking to raise money for Elizabeth Estes and her family in Oregon. Estes was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 13, later beating the cancer into remission. Now 21, and pregnant with her second child, Estes learned she had stage 4 multiple sclerosis. Besides forcing her and her husband out of work, Estes struggles against bouts with temporary blindness and other difficulties. Although he and Estes have never met, Blondeaux felt he needed to fight for her, and stepped out on his course.
â??I think itâ??s our obligation as human beings to help out individuals in need if we have the ability to,â?? said Blondeaux. He continued, â??The story was enough to compel me to try to help her out.â??
Blondeaux said he has already gone through seven pairs of shoes, adding â??Each pair only lasts about 300 miles.â?? Although he began with a backpack, he traded the knapsack in for a rolling cart that carries just the bare necessities, which include food, water, hygienic products and clothes.
Every step of the way Blondeaux wears a walkforliz.com t-shirt. The web-site and Walk for Liz Facebook pages set up for his cross-country journey serve as hubs for blogging, information and donation collection. Blondeaux says the endeavor has already raised over $10,000 to help the Estes family.
Blondeaux will stay with a friend in Perrysburg tonight before continuing on to New York City. He plans on making the Statue of Liberty the final destination on his trip.