ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – How far would you walk for a complete stranger? For Jim Hickey, a former marine from New Jersey, he’s walking from Wrigley Field to Busch Stadium for a girl from Columbia, Illinois, that he hadn’t even met yet.
Six-year-old Lydia Boyer who was diagnosed last year with brain cancer.
“I just thought, this is just another person out there doing something to raise awareness and we’re thankful, and it was just going to stop there. But Jim is a special guy, I’ve come to realize,” says Josh Boyer, Lydia’s dad, who is floored that Jim also contacted KMOX and we in turn contacted the Cardinals.
So last night, Lydia threw out the first pitch before the St. Louis Cardinals game.
“Now we can do something fun together that she’s going to remember for the rest of her life, and that we’re all going to be able to treasure. That means a lot to us,” Boyer says.
After Jim Hickey watches that first pitch, he’s taking the train to Chicago to begin his walk on Friday, back to St. Louis. He expects to touch Busch Stadium on September 30, wanting to be back before the end of the regular season. He estimates he’ll walk about 17 miles each day.
“Pretty much the whole day is trying not to get hit by cars. I’m aware of what’s around me, I don’t listen to headphones because I want to be aware of every thing that’s going on around me, including dogs coming off of properties, which happens just about every day,” he says, though he’s only been bitten once.
Hickey says he doesn’t use GPS, only an old fashion paper map.
“When I speak at schools I ask the kids to never give up. If there’s one gift we all have it’s ability to make a difference in someone else’s life,” he says.
Josh Boyer says this is a silver lining for his family. It’s been a difficult year.
“The good news is that the cancer’s gone from her brain. It’s just down to spot on her spine, and that spot’s been remaining stable,” he says.
He and his wife Kayla say even though their journey has been a struggle the last 18 months, but they believe “there’s no such as coincidences with God.” They hope through Lydia’s story, and Hickey’s walk, that at the very least, people will realized how huge a problem childhood cancer is.
Everyday 46 children are diagnosed with cancer, and of those, according to CureSearch.org. Hickey and the Boyer’s hope that more funding can be shifted by the American Cancer Society, to help fight childhood cancer.