Since sophomore year I have been asked why I walk the Road for Hope and the answer, at first, always sounded the same, "I do it for the charities that we sponsor." Although this answer is very true, I never really felt I was doing justice to our cause with such a simple explanation. I think I truly understood how to answer the question "why do you walk" after my second year on the road.
We had been singing songs all morning walking through Maine and at one of our water breaks a lady pulled into the parking lot just to get our attention, and to tell us her story. She said her mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness just a month prior and hadn't laughed or joked since, but when we walked by their home singing and cheering the mother began laughing and smiling for the first time since her diagnosis. This woman drove around town for more then a half hour trying to find us just to share with us this little sign of hope and to learn about our journey.
Walking the Road For Hope is exactly what it's title describes, we bring hope to others by getting the communities attention and sharing our mission. Throughout the years we have made great connections with our charities, the communities, and the different people along our route. Every year more and more people learn about our cause and always want to help out in some way. Whether it's allowing us to use their hose to fill up our water tanks or inviting us in for a freeze pop, there are so many generous people willing to help us and without them the Road for Hope would not be what it is.
Although the mother that we helped is not directly part of one of our ten charities we still brightened her day and got to share our mission with her daughter, who later donated to our cause. I now tell this story every time I'm asked why I walk. I walk to bring hope to our communities and the charities that support them, because only by working together can we really make a difference.