ST. LOUIS– Walking is no easy feat for Cody O’Connor. At the age of 14, he lost his right fibula, a bone in his calf, to bone cancer.
“Every step I take is painful,” he said.
The 25-year-old from Ohio is currently on a cross-country trek to raise money for Champions Do Overcome, a non-profit providing support for families facing a pediatric cancer diagnosis.
O’Connor wants to provide support for families because he knows what a pediatric cancer diagnosis can do to a family.
“I saw my mom and my dad face bankruptcy, eviction, and divorce,” he said. “I wondered where food was coming from sometimes.”
O’Connor started walking earlier this year. He plans on logging 3,000 miles between New York and California and hopes to raise $300,000. He said, “I was never supposed to be able to walk around comfortably much less walk around the whole nation.”
We caught up with O’Connor while he was walking through Mascoutah, Illinois Tuesday. He’ll be walking through St. Louis Wednesday. The journey is fueled by his own experience. O’Connor loved playing sports as a kid but was told he would never walk normally again.
He hopes walking cross-country gives other pediatric patients inspiration. He’s already received messages of support from families finding encouragement from his journey.
“I get goosebumps thinking about that every single time,” said O’Connor.