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Step Juan Feb 11, 2010

Step Juan Walkathon

What is Step Juan?
Step Juan is a 46-day (Jan 11 to Feb 26), 1203 km. walkathon from Pagudpod, Ilocos Norte to Sorsogon, Bicol by Green Peace activist/mountaineer, Tomas Leonor to raise funds for children stricken with cancer. I joined Tomas on the 5th leg, walking 10.5 hours from Calamba to Batangas, a 28.4 km route along the national highway.

Connection with Tomas
I first met Tomas on a group climb by the Goodies to Mt. Pinatubo in Pampanga and then to Mt. Apo in Mindanao. As we enjoy common friends, we'd meet sporadically on social events - frisbee, patintero, etc. Knowing his penchant for a noteworthy cause, it's not at all surprising to see him embark on this project.

   This is funny. A few years ago, the PNP used to beat me up as a Green Peace activist. Now, they provide me escort.
-- Tomas Leonor

Miguel Lopez
Tomas gets help from various sources. Miguel, also a member of the Green Peace walked with him almost the entire length, providing logistical help whenever necessary - doing crowd control, keeping vehicular traffic away from the walkers, arranging meals, lodging, etc. His contribution to the walk is priceless.

PNP (Philippine National Police)
The PNP (Philippine National Police) also provided escort. Upon crossing a municipal boundary, a fresh PNP contingent would welcome the walkers and provide escort until the next boundary. This proved very useful as the PNP buffered traffic flow away from the walkers. Additionally, they pledged P1M for the Cancer Warrior Foundation, payable Sept. 3, 2010.

route from Calamba, Laguna to Lipa, Batangas

Kids with Cancer
Moat people think cancer is a grown-up desease. Not really. According to the Cancer Warriors Foundation, 2,500 kids will die this year from cancer - 7 per day, 1 every 3 hours. Alarmingly, out of 8 diagnosed, only 10% survive the disease. The leading type of cancer in children is leukemia, followed by lymphoma, brain and spinal cancer.

Walking is taken for granted by a lot of people. It seems very easy since it's what they do everyday. But to walk continuously for 10.5 hours? I thought it was a piece of cake. Towards the end of the day, I was already cramping and in pain - and I walked with barely any load on my back! Yes, walking is serious business.

Ending Thoughts
I'm almost envious of Tomas. Most of us while away a 46-day stretch with hardly any accomplishment. But within that span, Tomas met countless people from all walks of life - cancer patients, cancer care-givers, PNP brass, community workers, common people eager to join him for a stretch, and locals who extended food and shelter. He was able to raise P150K for the Cancer Warrior Foundation which helps 300+ kids currently plagued by cancer. On stopovers, he gave talks which increased public awareness on cancer. And yes, in the process, he also became super-fit. Tomas, you DA MAN!

--- TheLoneRider


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Reader Comments:

Pete Valdez
(Aug 6, 2010) Very inspiring

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