An Albuquerque, New Mexico man is marching across the country to raise awareness about pancreatic cancer.
KRCG caught up with this dedicated volunteer on Highway 54 as he was passing through Jefferson City.
B.J. Timoner was just 5-years-old when his father passed away from pancreatic cancer at the age of 41. Two years ago, at the same age, B.J. grabbed a backpack and a tent and walked more than 2,600 miles from San Diego to Myrtle Beach. He took a break during that trip after suffering a mild heart attack. B.J. hopes to stay healthy this year during his second trip as he walks from Los Angeles to New York to raise awareness for pancreatic cancer.
Timoner said, "We're making great strides with the other cancers. Pancreatic cancer is the only one of the ten major cancers with a single digit survival rate. It needs to catch up with the others. We need to improve the results. We need to give hope for people so that they don't just face an automatic death sentence when they hear they have pancreatic cancer."
Pancreatic cancer not only took the life of his father, but three other members of B.J.'s family. That's why he supports the Lustgarten Foundation, the nation's largest organization for pancreatic cancer research. B.J. carries an average of 50 to 60 pounds of weight on his back as walks across the United States. He said he is up for that physical test every day, but he's not always up for the mental challenge he faces. B.J. has gone through dozens of pairs of shoes during his travels and dozens of stressful days.
Timoner said, "I just have to psych myself up and tell myself and tell myself that every step is as important as the next."
B.J. plans on finishing his nationwide walk in July and has thought about making a trip back across the country from Georgia to Los Angeles.