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85-Year-Old Illinois Man Walking 500 Miles to Benefit Childhood Cancer Research

Troutman's Trek

An 85-year-old Illinois man is walking 500 miles across 3 states to benefit childhood cancer research. He plans to reach Kentucky by Friday.

Dean Troutman of Princeville, IL set off June 19th with a push buggy full of survival gear and an air mattress hoping to raise donations for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.  

"I have a big family; kids, grandkids, great grandkids and great great grandkids," said Troutman. "I've been fortunate none of my family has ever had a problem, but I see there are thousands of kids that do. So I thought maybe this walk might raise enough money to help even one family going through this ordeal, or fund research for a cure or whatever, it will be well worth it."

This isn't his first trek, nor longest.  Last year, Troutman walked a 700-mile trip around Illinois to raise money for a playground at a park in memory of his late wife, Peggy.

He plans on walking 9 miles a day and completing his trek to the hospital in 60 days.  

Credit Troutman's Trek / Facebook

"I'm 85-year-old and I like to walk," said Troutman. "I just thought maybe people would donate more than if it was two or three 20-year-olds. It's the only thing I can do to raise money. I really couldn't think of anything else."

Troutman says he’s met a few obstacles along his journey including walking heavy thunderstorms and the intense heat. Tuesday morning, he had a close call when he was knocked down by a pickup truck, which demolished his buggy.

“And I injured my knee... so that’s about the only thing I’ve run into," said Troutman. "But even that, it’s nothing, it’s absolutely nothing compared to what these kids go through every day.” 

He says that injury may have only set him back half a day. 

Troutman says that’s nothing compared to the hardships families of sick kids have to go through, which is why he’s asking everyone he stops to talk to help by writing a check.

“Everybody got their own problems but I don’t think any of them are as big as what these families are going through with their kids at St. Jude," said Troutman. "I know they can afford it, they can give up smoking for a week, they can give up that six pack of beer everyday and give up playing golf one day a week and send that money to St. Jude’s.  It’s just one day, you know.”

He's already worn through two pairs of shoes and asked family back in Princeville to send more. 

Credit Troutman's Trek / Facebook

As of Wednesday afternoon, Troutman says he’s just about 20 miles north of Cairo, IL and 12 days ahead of schedule.  

You can track his progress and learn how to donate via his Facebook page “Troutman’s Trek.”    

Rob Canning is a native of Murray, KY, a 2015 TV Production grad of Murray State. At MSU, he served as team captain of the Murray State Rowing Club. Rob's goal is to become a screenwriter, film director or producer and looks to the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie for inspiration. He appreciates good music, mainly favoring British rock n' roll, and approves of anything with Jack White's name on it. When not studying, rowing or writing, Rob enjoys spending his free time with a book or guitar.
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