Boy and family walk across country for diabetes cure
Noah Barnes, 11, has spent more than 200 days walking on foot across the country. He’s covered hundreds and hundreds of miles and has been through eight states. When asked Wednesday what his favorite part of the journey has been, he was quick to answer.
“I like Colorado because of the mountains,” Noah said with a smile as he and his father, Robert, took a quick break on Highway 6 in Glenwood Springs.
Noah and his family are traveling across the country — from Key West, Florida, to Washington state — to raise awareness and funds for Type 1 Diabetes research. They call it Noah’s March. An article about a diabetes walk fundraiser first prompted the idea. But Noah wanted to do more. After seeing the documentary “Into the Wind” about Terry Fox running across Canada after losing one of his legs to cancer, he was even more inspired.
“Noah thought, if Terry Fox can do it on one leg, he could definitely do it with two,” Robert Barnes said.
Robert said Noah begged him to let him make the trip a reality. When he pointed out the necessary money to sponsor such a journey — a billion, the dad guessed — Noah asked, “Don’t you have that?”
When reminded how large the country is, Noah didn’t budge on his positivity of it being possible.
Robert and Noah did interval training in the sand to prepare for the long days on foot.
“I would ask him, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’ And he’d always say ‘yes,’ ” Robert said.
So Robert quit his job, cashed in his 401k and the entire family hit the road together on Noah’s March.
Robert and Noah average about 20 miles a day, but the mountains and altitude have slowed them in the past couple of days.
The two travel with provisions such as Gatorade and insulin to closely monitor Noah’s blood sugar levels. Usually Sunday is a rest day, and a well-deserved one at that.
They’re doing this without a plan. The original intent was for the family to travel alongside in an RV. When the RV broke down on New Year’s Eve, the night before they started, they packed up everything into the family Jeep and started anyway.
The goal is to be in Blaine, Washington, by November — nearly 4,000 miles from home. The vision is to raise enough money to find a cure for diabetes.
“I’m doing this because I want to be cured,” Noah said.