Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Pierre Bibbs
Sports Editor 

'Pacing Parson' appears in Phillips County

 


Auburn, Washington’s Don Stevenson isn’t your average 79 year-old man.

Stevenson also known as the “Pacing Parson” is traveling across the United States, in the most primitive and time consuming way possible. Walking.

The Nazarene pastor and his wife / support driver Loretta are on their way to Silver Springs, Maryland and along the way their goal is simple: To raise awareness for Pulmonary Hypertension for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association.

“I pastor seniors in our church and one of them got this disease. She has been struggling with this for years,” Stevenson told the PCN. “I told her Lord willing; I would do a walk for PH and dedicate the walk to her.”

His friend, Betty Mayfield, now passed away was affected by PH, which is a type of high blood pressure that affects arteries in the lungs and in the heart.

It is also extremely deadly and doesn’t discriminate because of age.

“A few years ago, a little boy I had met with Make-A-Wish Foundation had this same disease and he was eight years old,” Stevenson said.

That young man, now a teenager was in need of a double lung and heart transplant, which was of no cost. However living expenses and traveling expenses to and from the hospital put the family in a considerable amount of debt.

“We raised the expense for that and last fall he did get his double lung and heart transplant and he’s doing well,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson and his wife have been walking across America on and off since 1998.

Stevenson doesn’t raise a dollar amount per mile like most 5k events or marches, he doesn’t even ask for a dime. Instead he knows that making people aware can make a difference.

“Mostly, people hear about it on the TV or radio or read it in the newspaper,” Stevenson said.

Upon hearing or reading about his cause, many are compelled to donate.

From start to finish, at a rate of 30 miles per day, it takes the Pacing Parson around four months to complete the walk.

Upon the completion of this walk in September, Stevenson will turn 80 years of age.

This cross country trek would mean that the Stevenson couple has traveled across America four times. He has also walked across Ontario, Canada, from Mexico to Anchorage Alaska, to the 12,300 foot level of Mt. Rainer, over 18,750 feet around Washington state and 106 miles across the Cascade Mountains.

All in all, Stevenson has walked over 50,000 miles to raise awareness for varying causes, from Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Huntington’s Disease, the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, Spina Bifida and for Blind and Special Needs Kids.

As far as his cruise throughout Eastern Montana, Stevenson admires the view and the people.

“I like it out here,” he said. “The country down on 191 is just beautiful and you can look out onto the valley.”

He mentioned seeing Glacier National Park as one of his favorite experiences.

“The most interesting thing I’ve met are the people,” Stevenson said. “I’ve found out that America isn’t the six o’clock news, it’s better than that. There are more good people in this world than what the news will let you know.”

For more information visit Don’s webpage at http://www.thepacingparson.com. To make a donation to the Pulmonary Hypertension Association go to: http://www.o2breathe.org/fightPH15.

Don's footwear sponsored is Brooks Shoes. In case you were wondering, Don is on his second pair of shoes since the start of the trip. He will walk through six pair by the time this walk is complete.

 

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