Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

WALK A MILE IN HIS SHOES; Man Makes His Fourth Attempt at Walking across America for Cancer Research

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

WALK A MILE IN HIS SHOES; Man Makes His Fourth Attempt at Walking across America for Cancer Research

Article excerpt

Byline: TERRY DICKSON

EULONIA - The third time was not the charm as Jim Hickey tried to walk across America.

Striding south on U.S. 17 Wednesday, Hickey hopes the fourth will be the one that works.

Hickey, 47, had the idea of walking across America to raise money for cancer research after his father, James Hickey, died of prostate cancer in 1995 and his brother Jack, a police officer, underwent surgery for the disease about six months later.

The restaurant manager hit the road in Middleton, N.Y., April 30, 1998. That walk ended July 30, 2001, in Clovis, N.M., after 2,154 miles. Hickey said he decided to call off the walk after his promised support crew didn't come through, leaving him with the prospect of crossing the desert alone.

"I'm crazy," he said, "but not that crazy."

He started out again on Sept. 5, 2001, the sixth anniversary of his father's death and made it as far as Denver on June 5, 2003, before quitting again.

He left Virginia Beach Nov. 30, 2003, and gave it up a year later in Hopkinsville, Ky. Having logged enough miles to have crossed the country at least twice, Hickey struck out again last summer.

He passed the 6,000-mile mark for all four trips combined just after noon Tuesday on his way to Darien.

Hickey does not raise money for any specific charity. On his Web site, cancerwalkusa.com, Hickey recommends three, CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation, The Boomer Esiason Foundation and City of Hope, a cancer treatment center near Los Angeles.

But he also asks people to make donations to causes he finds along the way and to any research organization they feel comfortable with.

He takes no contributions and sells T-shirts about his walk to raise money to finance the walk itself.

Asked how far he walks each day, Hickey said he sets the next decent size town as his goal. He wanted to be in Darien Wednesday and Brunswick tonight.

His plan is to head south into Florida, walk across the Panhandle and southern Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana on the way to Austin, Texas, to meet up with his nephew, Bill Romer, who will follow him the rest of the way to California, including across the desert. …

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