Some have seen him pushing a stroller on the side of a highway. Others stop and hand him water bottles, or wave and they cruise past in their cars. His name is Norman Horn and he is on a journey from San Francisco to Atlantic City.
And he’s walking the whole thing.
“I average about 20 to 25 miles per day walking,” Horn said. “I hike all the time but I’ve never done anything like this.”
He isn’t just doing it for the scenery, or the exercise either. Horn walks from town to town to spread the word about a charitable cancer fund called the “4 Diamonds” at a children’s hospital back in his hometown of Hershey, Pennsylvania. The fund goes to help families struggling with cancer and also contributes to new research.
After six-weeks of walking, Horn passed through Ely on Friday. Put up for free in the Hotel Nevada, Horn said that Ely was the first community to help him financially.
“The people and the city of Ely have reached out to me and it means a lot,” he said.
Inspired during his time participating at a charitable dance competition at Penn State University, Horn said he met the families of cancer patients at the local hospital and their stories touched his heart. Though he didn’t have any family of his own suffering from cancer, it didn’t stop him from wanting to do something.
“When I met those families at Penn State who were suffering, it stayed with me. I didn’t have any family who had cancer but I thought, my mom doesn’t need to have breast cancer for me to fight breast cancer,” Horn said.
So he decided to start his own non-profit organization called Coast to Coast For The Kids in 2013. Now, one year later, Horn is only just beginning his seven month long trek to raise money through the non-profit for those families he met in Pennsylvania.
“The difficulties I go through out here are nothing compared to those of the families,” he said.
A small team of family members and volunteers set up room accommodations for him to rest his weary legs when arrives in each town. He reaches out to the local news and radio at each and every place he visits to get the word out about his cause. His website www.coast2coastftk.com lists his goal as “inspiring meaningful action” for the number one killer of children in the United States.
“I’m euphoric. I’m proud of what I’m doing,” he said. “There is no going home at this point.”