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Wilmette Man Completes Walk Across US for Parkinson’s Disease


Under a clear blue sky last week, Bill Bucklew arrived at Imperial Beach in California with his wife Heidi by his side. Flanked by dozens of supporters, Bucklew completed the final mile of his cross-country journey to raise funds for Parkinson’s disease.

Cheers, applause and whistles filled the air as Bucklew, 48, walked into the Pacific Ocean and lay back into the rolling waves.

“I can’t believe it’s over. I had to shock myself into believing it’s over,” Bucklew said in a Facebook live video Jan. 31 after finishing the epic journey he started two months ago. “I can’t process it, but the whole event was an amazing success. ... I have a whole range of emotions right now.”

  • (Courtesy of Bill Bucklew)

    (Courtesy of Bill Bucklew)

  • (Courtesy of Bill Bucklew)

    (Courtesy of Bill Bucklew)

  • (Courtesy of Bill Bucklew)

    (Courtesy of Bill Bucklew)

  • (Courtesy of Bill Bucklew)

    (Courtesy of Bill Bucklew)

  • (Courtesy of Bill Bucklew)

    (Courtesy of Bill Bucklew)

  • (Courtesy of Bill Bucklew)

    (Courtesy of Bill Bucklew)

  • (Courtesy of Bill Bucklew)

    (Courtesy of Bill Bucklew)

Shortly after Thanksgiving, Bucklew began his 2,503-mile journey from Tybee Island, Georgia, to San Diego to raise funds for Team Fox, the community fundraising program at the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Each day of his walk started at the “crack of dawn.” He would first spend 90 minutes bandaging his feet and would walk continuously until 10 p.m. for a total distance equal to 99 marathons, or about 1 1/2 marathons each day.

He wasn’t always walking alone. People inspired by his story and mission would join in. For his final mile, a woman drove 150 miles to walk by his side. Another man traveled five hours via two trains and two buses to join him.

“I’m thankful for all of the support that we have, all of the connections we’ve made, the great comments and the support we’ve gotten,” Bucklew said in the Facebook live video. “It’s just overwhelming to think about. ... I think we exceeded our goal in every way. I want to thank everyone for their support.”

For more information about Bucklew and his walk, visit his website

Note: This story was first published on Jan. 31.

Contact Kristen Thometz: @kristenthometz | kthometz@wttw.com | (773) 509-5452


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