Man's promise to his father involves walking across the country - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Man's promise to his father involves walking across the country

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

The American Cancer Society estimates more than half a million people in the U.S. will die from cancer this year. One man has gone to incredible lengths to keep his father's memory alive. Jim Hickey walks with a purpose. "I made a promise to my father that I would do this after he had passed away," said Hickey.

His father, James, died of prostate cancer in 1995. For 13 years he has tried to make good on his promise-- to walk across America to raise awareness for cancer research

"I figured I would put meaning to my dad's pain and get my life back again, just a short time later. I didn't realize once I took that first step, everything that would be involved with it," said Hickey.

Hickey's quest has already fallen short 4 times, due in part to inadequate planning, injuries, and even his mother's death. More than 1000 miles into his fifth attempt, Hickey thought he might come up short again when he was hit by a car in Indiana

"My fifth try, why can't I make this? Why are there so many things getting in my way to stop me from doing this?" asked Hickey.

But Hickey kept going. It wasn't until a week and a half later in Chicago, he learned he had a fractured left tibia and a sprained knee

"Luckily I meant a lot of people in Chicago who helped me stay there, let my leg heal. After going through a broken leg, and still going, this one I"m going to make," said Hickey.

Walking with 55 pounds on his back, as many as 20 miles in a day, Hickey is as determined as ever to reach his goal. This Father's Day weekend, the former Marine rests up in Iowa City, hoping his story can inspire others to get involved and fight the disease that has taken the lives of so many, including his dad.

"I hope he knows, what he went through, wasn't in vain," said Hickey.

Hickey's journey will end in Los Angeles, California. If this attempt is successful, he'll have walked more than 10,000 miles in his 5 tries.

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