KANSAS CITY, Mo. — He was told he’d never walk normally again, but now a former pediatric cancer patient is walking across America.
It’s called the Walk for Hope. Cody O’Connor is hoping to raise money for pediatric cancer patients and shine a light on the effects a cancer diagnosis has on their family.
“The roads in America are not meant to be walked,” O’Connor said when asked about his journey to Kansas City.
And if anybody is supposed to be walking across America, it’s probably not O’Connor.
“No doctor wanted me to do this,” he smiled.
O’Connor, 25, doesn’t have a fibula in his right leg.
“The way I walk, I roll on the outside of my foot,” he explained.
O’Connor had to have it removed to try to help save his life as a teen, after being diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma. He survived a form of pediatric cancer many kids don’t, but his battle to get fully back on his feet took several years.
“I was told I would be in a large walking contraption for the rest of my life with metal hinges that you keep oiled,” he said.
But as the oldest of seven children, his battle was never just his own.
“What I struggled with and what my family struggled with I wanted to ensure no other child ever had to go through wondering where food was coming from on top of fighting cancer,” he said.
O’Connor started by training to host a walk in his hometown area of Cincinnati, Ohio.
“Then we had random kids reaching out to us saying that inspired them and it’s like if we can impact this many people with a 20 mile walk can we maybe do this on a larger scale,” he said.
That’s why he’s now more than 1,200 miles and ten pairs of shoes into a walk that’s taken him from New York to Los Angeles. He meets with young cancer patients, their doctors and others along the way on his walk for hope. O’Connor hopes to raise $300,000 for a non-profit supporting them he founded called Champions Do Overcome.
“I want to show to every single kid across this nation that no matter what their dreams are no matter who is telling them that their dreams can’t be met they can work hard and achieve anything no matter their circumstances.”
You can follow O’Connor’s journey on his various social media platforms here .