Messenger photo by Mike Munden
Ron Kessler passes through London, Ohio, as he makes his way cross-country to raise awareness about breast cancer. He has traveled 750 miles in 39 days from Delaware on his way to California.
By the time he reached London on April 9, Colorado resident Ron Kessler had walked 750 miles on his one-man quest to raise money to fight breast cancer.
The 39-year-old started his cross-country trek on March 1 in the State of Delaware. His final destination, which he hopes to reach by September, is Point Reyes National Sea Shore, north of San Francisco in California.
“For me, this is easy compared to what cancer victims go through. I try to keep things in perspective; I’m doing the easy part,” said Kessler.
His inspiration is a friend from his college days who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. In July of last year, she found out the cancer had spread to her bones and lungs. Kessler knew he had to do something in her honor.
“I felt some kind of force telling me this was something I needed to do right now,” he said.
“Road to the Cure” is a project Kessler came up with entirely on his own—and he is completing it entirely on his own. His only sponsorships are donated shoes from New Balance and donated hiking poles from Leki. He has no support wagon following him from town to town; it’s just him and the open road.
He finds shelter with friends, kind strangers and, many times, in his tent at campgrounds. Upon the suggestion of the London Police Department, he spent the night of April 8 at the Madison County Fairgrounds in London. The next night, a family in South Vienna, Ohio, put him up.
“The support I do have is the great people of this country. It’s nice getting off the main corridors and into some of these small towns,” said Kessler, who is originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., and now lives in Fort Collins, Colo.
It’s a lonely journey, but it’s one Kessler is physically equipped to make. He has twice crossed the United States on a bicycle and has twice hiked the Appalachian Trail. This is the first time he has exerted extreme energy to raise money for a cause.
Kessler’s goal is to raise $100,000 for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, “the world’s largest network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find cures.”
He has set up three ways to accept donations, all of which will be directed to the Susan G. Komen Foundation:
• by going online to donate at www.firstgiving.com/roadtothecure;
• toll-free by phone at 1-877-GO-KOMEN (1-877-465-6636);
• or check by mail to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, 505 LBJ Fwy. STE 250, Dallas, Texas 75244.
So that he can track how much money his efforts raise, Kessler asks that those who donate by phone or mail send him an e-mail at email@example.com with the amount to credit to Road to the Cure.
Kessler’s purpose is not limited to raising funds. He also is raising awareness along the way. To anyone who will listen, he stresses to women over 40 the importance of monthly self breast exams and yearly mammograms and clinical breast exams. For women ages 20 to 39, he stresses the necessity of clinical breast exams every three years and monthly self breast exams. Because 1 percent of all breast cancer cases are found in men, he also notes that men should see a doctor if they have persistent lumps or changes in the chest area.
For more information on Kessler’s journey, check out his Web page at www.trailjournals.com/roadtothecure. For more information about the cause, go to www.komen.org.