Benjamin Timoner of Albuquerque, N.M., passed through Effingham Friday on a path to walk across the country and bring attention to the leading cause of cancer death.
Timoner began a journey Jan. 2 to walk from Santa Monica, Calif., to Jones Beach in New York. He is 2,000 miles into the trip and plans to reach the East Coast in eight weeks, completing his second walk from ocean to ocean in memory of his father, who died of pancreatic cancer. He is on a mission to raise money to fund research for a disease that has only a 6 percent survival rate.
"It's in honor of my father, Bert, who died when he was 41 in 1974," Timoner said. "It's always difficult, but it's what I need to do to honor my father and fight for all the people that are going to face this diagnosis. If I could save one person or if one person could spend six more months with their family, it's all worth it. Now that I'm 43, I realize how young 41 is and it kills me that my dad only lived to be 41. It's tragic. There's no rhyme or reason to it. If we could find early detection, we could save a lot of people."
Timoner said he lived in fear he would succumb to the same fate as his father.
"Having my father die when I was so young, I lived under this cancer specter that I always thought would come for me and I would probably only have about 41 years also," he said. "So I woke up one day and said 'you're here, you made it,' and I consider the rest of my life sort of a bonus. I'm surprised to be here, and I wanted to do something good."