Timoner emphasizes the walk isn't about him but the devastating disease and the good he could do to help it. He takes donations from anyone who is interested in helping, either in person or on his website at bjwalksamerica.com and gives them to the Lustgarten Foundation, a New York-based nonprofit organization that is funding research to fight pancreatic cancer.
"Once I'm on the road every dollar goes to the charity," he said. "I never wanted to look at a dollar and feel guilty about buying a soda and saying this money could have gone to the foundation. I have a strict rule about donations I receive on the road and everything goes to Lustgarten."
While not asking for support has left Timoner sleeping in a tent by the side of the road, on a well wisher's couch or on rare occasion in a donated or comped hotel room, it has allowed him to give sizable donations to the Lustgarten Foundation. At the end of his first walk in 2011, he was able to donate $26,000 and so far, he's collected nearly $16,000 on this trip.
"It's going to take time and going to take a lot of effort, but we're going to change it," he said. "Sadly, we're looking to change the survival rate to 12 percent, and it's not a lofty goal, but it's a first goal, and we're going to get it done. I'd like to be an old man in my rocking chair some day and say, 'remember when we beat pancreatic cancer.' That would make my whole life worthwhile."
Jackson Adams can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 131, or firstname.lastname@example.org.