Beginning Friday at 6 p.m., a group will set out on The Walk of Hope, from Northport to Birmingham, as a way to raise money and awareness for the fight against childhood cancer.
Northport Firefighter Manuel Jimenez, the organizer of the walk, and Tuscaloosa Firefighter Alexander Cameron both plan to make the 64 mile walk wearing firefighter gear. Eight other people plan to walk with them, and the goal is to travel from Northport Fire Station 2 to Children’s of Alabama in 24 hours.
Jimenez completed his first Walk of Hope, along the same route, earlier this year. Walkers may still sign up by arriving by 5:15 p.m. Friday at Northport Fire Station 2. Jimenez also encourages groups to do the walk as a relay, switching off walkers along the route, to shorten the distance.
Prior to organizing The Walk of Hope, Jimenez ran the St. Jude Marathon in Memphis in December 2016, also in his full firefighter gear. Jimenez says through social media, he became aware of the struggles facing families with children fighting cancer, and began running and walking as a way to raise funds and generate attention for the cause.
Cameron says he was inspired by what he saw Jimenez doing, and made the decision to join the walk after much prayerful consideration.
“It's going to be a long walk, but I think the reward afterward is going to be awesome,” Cameron said.
Cameron also encourages others to find a cause that is meaningful to them, and look for a way to serve that cause.
“Find that cause. It doesn’t necessarily have to be this. If it is, that’s great. Find that thing that’s near and dear to your heart. And really just go after it, and try to give back.”
“For the cause we’re doing it for, it’s well worth it,” Jimenez said.
“I truly believe the more walkers we have, the more awareness we could bring to childhood cancer.”
The majority of The Walk of Hope route is along Highway 11. For safety, walkers will have escort vehicles along the way.
Learn more about The Walk of Hope here.
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