Veterans walking across country for cancer research make stop in Macon

hgoodridge@macon.comFebruary 26, 2013 

Wayne Whitbeck and James Allred are putting a lot of miles on their shoes.

The two Army veterans started a trek Feb. 4 in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and their destination is San Francisco.

Whitbeck, 38, and Allred, 28, arrived Tuesday in Macon, where they will take two days rest before getting back on the road.

They’re stepping with a purpose. Whitbeck started a nonprofit called Ruck for a Cure after his father was diagnosed with cancer two years ago.

The men are hoping their seven-month, 3,000-mile walk will raise $50,000 for cancer research at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“I decided to do something for my dad because he did so much,” Whitbeck said as he took a short break along Ga. 49 a few miles from the Macon city limits.

He talked to Allred about the plans, and the men spent a year making plans for the journey.

“We’re a little over $5,000 right now,” Whitbeck said. “We’ve met some really cool people. We’ve got a lot of roadside donations.”

While the men have a few corporate donors, most contributors are asked to use their website, www.ruckforacure.org.

Whitbeck said the first couple of weeks of the trip were the hardest. “As our feet were starting to break in and callouses build up, it gets easier,” he said.

The men spend most nights in a popup camper and tents. For their two-day stay in Macon, they’re staying at the Marriott City Center.

Averaging about 15 to 20 miles a day, much of their trek through the midstate in recent days was wet.

“The weather can’t stop us,” Whitbeck said. “We’re on a dead set mission to hit San Francisco.”

To contact writer Harold Goodridge, call 744-4382.

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