Hiking The Pacific Crest Trail

On March 18, with a pack weighing no more than 25 lbs, I will embark on a four month quest to hike from Mexico to Canada to raise awareness and funds for pediatric brain cancer research. I’m inviting  others to companion me online to discover the magnificence of the ecosystems that make up the Pacific Crest Trail.

The Pacific Crest Trail runs 2,659 miles from the Mexican border, across the deserts of Southern California, through the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges, before arriving in Manning Park, Canada. With the help of four pediatric cancer foundations from across the country, four pennies will be raised for each step I take on the trail to support a promising clinical trial targeting the most deadly of all children’s brain cancers.  In following my progress on social media and my YouTube channel, I hope people will learn and get excited about the remarkable history, geology and ecology along the trail.



Campaign Goal: $185,000

Amount Raised: $173,232


Why Four Pennies?

Currently the National Cancer Institute, the largest source of cancer research funding, invests only four pennies of every available research dollar in children’s cancer research. The average age an adult is diagnosed with cancer is 66 while the average age of a child is 8. A child who dies from cancer, loses on average 67 years of life expectancy. Even when children survive their cancer, more than 75% of them have serious side effects for the remainder of their lives due to the treatments they endured. Science must do better for our children, but it needs the resources to do so.

4.6 Million Steps

The journey of 2,659 miles is made up of about 4.6 million steps. Every long and difficult journey begins with one step. Whether its hiking the Pacific Crest Trail or finding cures for pediatric brain cancer, it begins by saying yes to taking that first step. Hiking can be a solo venture, but curing cancer can only be done together. The Swifty Foundation, Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, Dragon Master Foundation and Be Brave for Life have all said yes to collaborating in an effort to raise four pennies for each of my 4.6 million steps ($185,000!). Their step to collaborate will fund a clinical trial targeting diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a type of children’s brain cancer that is 100% fatal. The scientific data gained from the trial will be shared openly with other investigators enhancing further collaboration. We all need to be stepping together in order to find cures for children diagnosed with this terrible disease.

Take Your First Step

Please take a step with us by financially supporting my hike and the journey to a cure. 100% of every dollar donated will go directly to funding the DIPG clinical trial. No administrative fees  will be paid from the dollars raised. Finally, please tell someone about the hike, maybe they too will want to take a step toward finding a cure.


A Bit About The Swifty Foundation

The Swifty Foundation began with Michael Gustafson who was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 10. Shortly after his diagnosis, Michael began fundraising for cancer research and recruited his friends to help. At the end of Michael’s battle, with the help of his parents Patti and Al, he started the Swifty Foundation.

The Swifty Foundation now focuses on finding a cure for pediatric brain cancer in three ways:

  1. Promoting post-mortem tissue donation to improve research
  2. Improving collaboration among organizations and researchers working to cure pediatric cancer
  3. Funding research of recurrent medulloblastoma

When Michael was nearing his 15th birthday, his mom recorded this video in a restaurant parking lot. By this point, Michael already knew he wasn’t going to beat brain cancer for himself. But he could beat it for someone else. In the video, Michael lays out what he called his “Master Plan” — to become a tissue donor in hopes of finding a cure.