Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

April 30, 2013

One Man's Journey Widower on cross-country mission to bring attention to ovarian cancer

In his neon-green sweatshirt, walker Dave Brown was hard to miss on U.S. 40 Monday.

Even more catching is the story behind his decision to walk from Atlantic City, N.J., to San Francisco in about 7 1/2 months.

Brown, of Collegeville, Pa., is walking in memory of his wife, Joan, who died of ovarian cancer on Aug. 1, 2011, at the age of 58. He hopes to raise $110,000 for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund and to spread information on the symptoms of the disease.

Brown's trek from Montrose through Effingham Monday marked the 61st day of his 2,995-mile journey. He finished the day near Funkhouser Cemetery and will walk through St. Elmo today.

“Before (Joan) passed away from the dreaded disease, she told me if there was anything that I could do to use her experience to help other women with ovarian cancer she was for it. This is the reason for the walk,” he stated on his blog.

Before Brown began the journey, he spent months poring over U.S. 40 and 50 maps. Brown begins each day by parking his car at the designated end point. He then has someone drive him to the stopping point from the day before. From there, he puts one foot in front of the other for about 14 miles, taking in the scenery and passing out information on the symptoms of ovarian cancer.

“The symptoms are common … and subtle,” Brown said, calling the cancer the “whispering disease.”

Brown admits even he has experienced most of the symptoms, which include swelling or bloating of the abdomen, persistent pressure or pain in the abdomen or pelvis, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, urinary concerns, changes in bowel habits and unexplained vaginal bleeding.

Brown said by the time most women decide to see a doctor, they are already in stage 3 or 4.

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