Ultimate Hiker takes on famous pilgrimage for childhood cancer research

Ultimate Hiker takes on famous pilgrimage for childhood cancer research 

How far would you hike for children with cancer? For Steve Hay, it’s 165 miles.  

More than 17,000 children in the US are diagnosed with cancer every year and most current standard treatments were approved before 1990. There is an urgent need for new, safe, effective treatments. 

Through the CureSearch Create Your Own Adventure program, Steve went the extra mile – 165 miles to be exact – to raise funds for the development of new treatments for children with cancer. This was Steve’s first CureSearch fundraising initiative and he was honored to hike in memory of Colton Kopcinski. 

“I was the family’s pastor and followed their journey from Colton’s diagnosis to his death,” said Steve. “He was such an energetic, funny, smart young guy that you wanted to be with him. Such a positive attitude even when in severe pain. His mom is involved with CureSearch and if she thinks you all are the best way to give hope to other families, that’s good enough for me.” 

In May, Steve began his ultimate adventure on the El Camino de Santiago, or The Way of Saint James trail in Spain. According to exploreworldwide.com, walking the Camino de Santiago is one of the most highly-sought pilgrimages in the history of humanity. Today, nearly 350,000 trekkers from around the world complete the Camino each year.  

“These are pilgrimage trails dating back to the 900s. What makes it spiritual is both the inward exploration and the outward benefit to others,” said Steve. “I want to benefit the children who have done nothing to deserve the suffering they experience.”  

El Camino de Santiago is a network of many different routes with their own unique history, heritage and charm. Steve began his pilgrimage by hiking 75 miles on the Camino Ingles trail and was joined by Alex Felice, his daughter’s boyfriend. Alex joined him on the trail to raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer research and helped Steve surpass the $5,000 fundraising goal. 

Next, Steve hiked 75 miles on the Camino San Salvador and wrapped up his journey hiking 30 miles on the Camino Primitivo. He said his first experience being involved with CureSearch has been positive and inspiring.  

“In the long term I hope that research can nearly eliminate childhood deaths, increase the quality of life for survivors and minimize the suffering that happens during treatment.” 

To learn more about the Ultimate Hike program and how you can create your own hiking adventure, visit http://ultimatehike.org/.  

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