Proceeds are being collected by Sam Holcombe
Based on 1,175 estimated miles, each worth $11.77
On September 14, 2020, at 33 years old, my friend Dustin experienced a severe heart attack and was without life signs for two minutes on the way to the hospital. His wife was told that many people who experience similar trauma never regain consciousness. He woke up a few days later.
Due to the cardiac arrest, Dustin also had a stroke, which resulted in a traumatic brain injury and kidney failure. Dustin had small spots affected all over his brain, which are slowly improving. The largest impact is to his short term memory, which he is working with a speech therapist to improve. After weeks of dialysis and doctors saying his kidneys would not recover, his kidneys have started to recover.
Dustin was in the ICU for six days and was intubated for five of those days. He spent the next 37 days recovering on the cardiac floor. During this time he had to begin relearning speech, how to feed himself, and how to walk again. His recovery has exceeded everyone’s expectations and his doctors have been very encouraged by his progress. While we rejoice that Dustin is alive and improving, we also must acknowledge that the road back to normal will be a long and challenging one. There are good and bad days. They will get better and worse. There are so many kinds of therapy and rehab that will have to be undertaken. The time and energy that we devote to Dustin as he continues his fight will not be insignificant. He has always been caring and supportive for all of us, so I know we can do it for him.
In 2012 I finished my first thru hike on the Mountains to Sea Trail, across the state of North Carolina. I passed under Jennette’s Pier on the beach at Nag’s Head on the final day. Just a few miles later, I summited Jockey’s Ridge to complete the trail. The landmarks from your last day on trail are always meaningful, so Jennette’s Pier always holds a special place in my heart. Turns out, it’s a special place for Dustin and his wife too; they got married on the same spot in 2017.
That is why tying my second thru hike of the Mountains to Sea trail to my friend’s recovery seems so right. Without being able to visit Dustin due to Covid, I have been racking my brain for the best way to support him. As soon as the thought of connecting a hike to his healing crossed my mind, I knew I had to do it. Not only is the location special to us both, but the journey and the struggle is an obvious metaphor and something I want to take on with him, in my own way.
My journey will be short compared to Dustin’s. The Mountains to Sea Trail is 1175 miles long and will take me roughly 2,191,375 steps to complete. Completing recovery will take Dustin many more steps than that. I will be able to give up if necessary. Dustin will not. Every step that I take will be fueled through the support of our family and friends, and each step will be for Dustin.
Through the generosity of the community, I know that we can help ease the difficult path ahead for Dustin and his family. He is strong enough and wants it bad enough. If we can help make the journey a little less stressful with our support, I know he will overcome all of the obstacles he has to face.
I have set up this fundraiser to be a “By The Mile” effort. You have the opportunity to make a pledge of as little as one penny per mile of my potentially 1175 mile journey. As with all thru hikes, there is a risk of non-completion, but so far I’m three out of three for finishing thru hikes on my first attempt. ;)
The Mountains to Sea Trail is over 1175 miles long, so If I complete the trail, and you donate just one cent per mile, you will be donating $11.75 to a noble cause for our “Miracle Man”. If I am not able to complete the entirety of the trail, only the miles that I have hiked to that point will count. Pledges will be calculated and donations collected based on the mileage I am able to complete. At a penny a mile, the most you would donate, if I complete the trail, is $11.75.
I will begin my hike in April and estimate finishing sometime near the end of May or beginning of June. The dates I have entered for the Thru Hike are arbitrary and may change based on weather window, pace, and factors beyond my control.
If you prefer to donate a flat rate, unconnected to how many miles I hike, we encourage you to do so; there is an option for “flat donations” too!
A donation in any amount will help with medical bills and future costs associated with rehabilitation. If you are unable to donate at this time, another great way to help is to please share this fundraiser with your friends!
Thank you so much for your support and generosity!
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