ERWIN, TN. (KMOX) – A man who suffered years of abuse as a child is in the midst of the ultimate endurance test — a 2,500 mile hike–  to help other victims .

“And it just seems like there’s no flat ground whatsoever.” Michael McLaughlin stepped onto the Appalachian Trail a month ago.  “When you’re not climbing, you’re descending.”

Speaking to KMOX News from Tennessee, McLaughlin says he’s tried to travel light with only a 30 lb pack and trekking poles.  That means even necessities — like water — have to be rationed, because it’s too heavy to carry a lot.  “It’s a really unpleasant experience when you’ve run out of water and you’ve got to climb a mountain and it’s hot.

The only time McLaughlin’s out of the elements is at night in trail side shelters.  But no one gets much rest.  “The mice in some of these shelters are relentless.  There was one shelter I was in where from the moment you put your head down to go to bed you heard the mice scurrying, they’re going through your pack, they’re going through everything.”

So far this Washington University MBA student has logged 340 brutal miles on his “Hike 4 Kids”.  He’s sprained his ankle twice and had some close calls.  “All the sudden my trekking pole gave in and bent and I fell down the rocks and luckily something broke my fall after a while so I didn’t go rolling all the way down the mountain.”   But McLaughlin says he’s pushing himself to his limits, so other kids can be rescued from abusive situations.

Click here for a link to Hike 4 Kids

Click here to connect to the Hike 4 Kids facebook page

Hiking 2,500 Miles for Abused Kids

Michael’s Blog – Wednesday, March 14th:

From a physical standpoint, I’m a wreck.  My feet are covered in
moleskin and duct-tape and each step makes me wince.  I need to be
careful how my left foot lands because even the slightest twist results
in a jolt of pain.  A popped blister on my left foot was quickly
replaced with a new blister in the same spot.  The combination of
blisters and spraining my left ankle twice had caused me to walk with a
noticeable limp.  My knees ache, my legs are sore, and my feet are
crying for relief.  And you know what?

My spirits have never been higher.

As bad off as I am physically, from a mental standpoint I feel
phenomenal.  So many of you have reached out to say you’re pulling for
me that I can’t help but feel invincible.  When I went down with a
second ankle sprain, there was never any doubt I’d get back up and keep
hiking because all of you were right there with me.  Your emails, hugs,
and kind words are the fuel that keeps me going, and your confidence in
me has elevated me to new heights.  I’ve hiked 206 miles through rain,
cold, and physical pain, and with your support there is nothing I cannot

When I stand at the foot of a mountain and look up, my body aching for
relief, I don’t see an insurmountable challenge.  Rather, I see a path
lined with all of you cheering me on, and I push forward toward the next
great accomplishment on this amazing journey we are taking together.


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