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The Pacing Parson

Pacing Parson Finishes His Four-Month Walk Across America for PHA

PH Patients and PHA Staff Join Don Stevenson in Silver Spring, Md. for Final Yards of 3,000-Mile Walk

Don Stevenson
(aka the Pacing Parson)

Silver Spring, Md. (September 23, 2015, 3:30 p.m. ET) – Ahead of his 80th birthday, Don Stevenson (aka the “Pacing Parson”), a Seattle-area (Auburn, Wash.) retired minister and former U.S. Marine, has just completed a four-month, 3,000-mile cross-country walk, raising awareness and, so far, nearly $10,000 in donations and pledges for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA).

On Wednesday, September 23, joined by PHA employees, the association’s support group patients and caregivers, and others who have followed his story, Stevenson walked the final yards of his 3,000-mile cross-country journey. The end of the walk was Stevenson’s slowest, as PH patients struggle to breathe and require oxygen or daily medication to get around and, for some, even short walks can be laboring.

PH is high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs, a debilitating disease that affects the functioning of the heart and can lead to death from heart failure. There is no cure and PH, while progressive, is often misdiagnosed as asthma or other less life-threatening diseases. Without treatment, the average survival rate is 2.8 years after diagnosis.

Stevenson and the PHA group crossed a periwinkle finish line, symbolic of the color of the lips of some PH patients when they lack oxygen. Periwinkle also represents hope and empowerment to the PHA community.

“We are both humbled and empowered by what the Pacing Parson has done to help PHA provide support for patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals and researchers in our collective fight against PH,” said Rino Aldrighetti, PHA’s president and CEO, at a short finish-line presentation. “PHA, which for 12 consecutive years has received Charity Navigator’s top rating — four stars — for fiscal accountability and transparency, will celebrate our PH successes as part of PH Awareness Month in November and our 25th anniversary in 2016. We invite the public to support Stevenson’s dedication to PHA’s cause with a donation.”

PH patients, caregivers, staff and healthcare professionals joined Stevenson’s family, friends and fellow church members for the official kick-off of the cross-country walk on June 9 from Auburn, Wash. He continued to clock up to 30 miles each day, taking Sundays off to rest. Stevenson’s journey for PHA is his 20th long-distance charity walk since 1998 to raise money and awareness for medical causes he supports, earning him the nickname, the Pacing Parson.

Stevenson had believed a 20,000-mile charity walk he completed last year would be his final one. However, he felt compelled to support PHA after visiting fellow church member Betty Mayfield in the hospital before she died of the disease.

“I made a promise to Betty that I would walk for her and pulmonary hypertension before she died,” Stevenson said “I feel honored to be able to raise awareness for this devastating disease.”

Stevenson’s walk honors Mayfield, along with another friend who is struggling with PH, and a 14-year-old Kent, Wash., PH patient who recently underwent a heart and lung transplant. In 2010, Stevenson walked 1,200 miles around the perimeter of Washington State to help raise money for expenses related to the boy’s surgery.

Stevenson followed a route along Highway 2 across the northern part of the U.S., then U.S. 50 through Ohio to Route 7 through West Virginia and Virginia. Each night, he catches up with his wife, Loretta, who drives ahead and secures overnight accommodations. The Stevensons ask hotels to sponsor their overnight stays, never having to pay for lodging.

Along the way, Stevenson met many who were honored to walk with him. Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Clint Romesha walked with him through Minot, N.D., PHA Executive Vice President Carl Hicks, who lost his daughter Meaghan to the disease, was at the kick-off event in Auburn, Wash., and then met up with Stevenson in North Dakota to walk with him. While in Michigan, he visited with PH patients at the world class University of Michigan (UM) PHA-accredited Pulmonary Hypertension Care Center. UM Medical School professor and center leader, Dr. Vallerie McLaughlin, a former chair of PHA’s board of trustees, hosted the visit. As he walked through Ohio, he was celebrated at a “Buckeye Rally for Pulmonary Hypertension” at The Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center.

Using #PacingParsonPHA, PHA chronicled Stevenson’s journey on social media and online atwww.PHAssociation.org/PacingParson.

The Pacing Parson’s victory reception was sponsored by PHA corporate partners Actelion, Bayer, and United Therapeutics and Lung Biotechnology. Other PHA corporate-partner support for the Pacing Parson’s charity walk included social media and marketing support from Gilead and Reata. Employees from PHA, Actelion, Bayer and Gilead joined Stevenson as he passed through their cities and towns across the country.

See the rest of the article here.

Catch Up With Don Here!

So we finally caught up with Don! We hadn’t heard from him in awhile so I called him and here’s his progress so far.

The week before last, Don was in Ann Arbor, MI visiting Dr. Vallerie McLaughlin at the University Hospital at Michigan State. Here’s the fascinating article of his visit there and the strides that Dr. McLaughlin is making in changing the lives of patients with PH:

“Pacing Parson” visits Ann Arbor on trek for pulmonary hypertension awareness

He meets University of Michigan heart specialist leading cutting edge pulmonary hypertension research

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Ahead of his 80th birthday, Don Stevenson’s walk across America to raise awareness of pulmonary hypertension brought him to the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center.

He stopped Thursday three months into his walk to meet Vallerie McLaughlin, M.D., a U-M cardiologist who is galvanizing the world’s medical minds to research pulmonary hypertension.

(Read more about the article here.)

And then he was in Detroit through last Sunday.

Here’s a short video of his walk with supporters in Michigan.

Haven on the VineThis last week, Don and Loretta stayed at The Haven on the Vine Bed and Breakfast in Marion, OH. This beautiful historical home was once a stop on the Underground Railroad. While they were there, they found out that the inn is also the headquarters of Paradigm Shift Ministries live broadcast and Don was invited to share his experience on Periscope. Here’s the video of Don sharing:

Make sure to check out more of the broadcasts from Paradigm Shift Ministries and we want to thank The Haven on the Vine for their donation of a night for Don and Loretta!

Here is a press release that showed an event from last week and one coming up on Sept 12th:

79-YEAR-OLD “PACING PARSON” PASSING THROUGH DETROIT THREE MONTHS INTO WALK ACROSS AMERICA FOR PULMONARY HYPERTENSION ASSOCIATION (PHA)

Don Stevenson will help Kick off PHA’s Detroit O2 breathe Quarter Marathon

Who: Ahead of his 80th birthday, Don Stevenson (AKA the Pacing Parson), a Seattle-area (Auburn, Wash.) retired minister and former U.S. Marine, is walking from his home near Seattle, Wash., to Silver Spring, Md., near Washington, D.C., to raise awareness and money for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA).

  • Stevenson, who started the walk, June 9, walks 25-30 miles each day, taking Sundays off to rest.
  • Stevenson‘s walk for PHA is his 20th since 1998 to raise money and awareness for medical causes he supports, earning him the nickname, “The Pacing Parson.”
  • PHA relies on donations to fund patient and caregiver support services, PH public awareness and medical education
    programs, specialty care resources and research to find ways to prevent and cure the disease. For 12 consecutive years, PHA has received the highest rating – four stars – for fiscal accountability and transparency from Charity Navigator, placing it in the top one percent of all rated charities.Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is high blood pressure in the vessels of the lungs, which can lead to death from heart failure. There is no cure. Stevenson had believed a 20,000-mile charity walk he completed last year would be his final one. However he felt compelled to support PHA after visiting Betty Mayfield, a fellow church member, in the hospital before she died of the disease.
  • This walk honors Mayfield, along with Dorothy Fitch, a close friend who is struggling with PH, and 14-year-old Cullen Steele, a local (Kent, Wash.) PH patient who recently underwent a heart and lung transplant. In 2010, Stevenson walked 1,200 miles around the perimeter of Washington State to help raise money for expenses related to the boy’s surgery.

What: Stevenson’s walk will include a stop at PHA Midwest Chapter’s Detroit O2 breathe Quarter Marathon fundraiser Kickoff event at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Sterling Heights, Mich, on Wednesday, August 26, 2015. The Chapter will thank him for his amazing sacrifice to raise awareness and funds for PHA.
Buffalo Wild Wings
44833 Mound Road
Sterling Heights, MI
5 pm – 9 pm
For its part, Buffalo Wild Wings will donate to PHA 15 percent of proceeds from customers who present a flier for the kickoff event.

The Detroit O2 breathe Quarter Marathon Run and Walk is September 12, 2015 at Stony Creek Metro Park in Shelby Township, Mich. For more event information about the Run and Walk and to download the event flyer, visit: www.o2breathe.org/Detroit15.

How: PHA is chronicling Stevenson’s journey on social media and inviting people to walk with him and capture the experience via photos and short video clips.

  • Stevenson followed a route along Highway 2 across the northern part of the U.S.
  • He completes 25-30 miles a day and catches up with his wife, Loretta, who drives ahead and secures overnight accommodations. The Stevensons ask hotels to sponsor their overnight stays.
  • The Stevensons are passing through Michigan and heading south across the Straits of Mackinaw, through Detroit and Ohio before finally arriving in Silver Spring, Md., at the headquarters of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. The goals is to reach PHA Headquarters in mid-to late-September.
  • People and businesses will support Stevenson through sponsorships and donations to PHA.
  • Stevenson’s walk is one of PHA’s many Team O2 breathe events, where communities and individuals raise money for PHA.
  • Donors can support Stevenson by going to PHAssociation.org/PacingParson and following his journey @PHAssociation on Twitter and Pulmonary Hypertension Association on Facebook. PHA asks that supporters add #PacingParsonPHA to their social media posts.

 

Some Videos of Don…

Here’s some various videos of Don’s walk that I thought you may enjoy:

Don sharing his passion for PH at a McDonalds.

Don sharing his humor with us before he sets out:

Don sharing his compassionate heart with a reporter (sorry the audio is not good – you may be able to make out the conversation)

Walking along a highway:

Don is Moving Right Along!

Webmaster:

I spoke with Don a couple of days ago and he will be in Superior, WI by this weekend. He enjoyed a visit from Col. Carl Hicks, Jr. last week who flew in from the Seattle area to walk with Don for a bit. Carl is the Executive Vice President at the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) that Don is walking for. He has been personally touched by pulmonary hypertension in the life of his daughter. I’ve included some great photos taken with Don and Col. Hicks in the Gallery (found on the home page in the menu) so take a look!

Here’s a video of Don taking off early in the morning with Carl Hicks, Jr.

Don also related some heartwarming stories when he was in Bemidji, MN. They met a nice waiter, Isaac, while they were eating at Applebee’s and when they were telling him about the walk, he gave them his tip money. It ended up being $45! Loretta was washing clothes at a laundry mat there in town and after drying his clothes, a man said his dryer was free. As Loretta loaded her clothes, they started talking and he gave her $100 for PHA! All monies received go exclusively to help PHA.

sunset

The Best Western in Bemidji also provided lodging to the Stevenson’s for 4 nights. Thank you Best Western!

Keep praying for Don and Loretta as they continue their journey across the US! Loretta drives ahead and arranges lodging for each evening. We thank each place that has provided their stays gratis.

We invite you to go their Donate page and help Don reach his goal for this walk by donating what you can to PHA. Thank you! Click here for the link.

The Pacing Parson Walks With A Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient

On Saturday, July 11th, Don was privileged to walk with Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, Clint Romesha who resides in Minot, ND. Here’s some details of that walk:

gI_143712_Don StevensonMedal of Honor Recipient Clint Romesha walks with 79-Year-old ‘Pacing Parson’ Through Minot, ND on his Cross-Country Walk for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association

 

Here’s a video of Don and Clint Romesha walking together in Minot, ND. from the NBC affiliate, KFYR in Bismark, ND.

Another video from CBS affiliate KXNews:

KXNet.com – Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Don’s In North Dakota!

Yesterday Don was in Williston, ND where he was interviewed by a reporter for the Williston Herald. Click here for the interview:

559c249eaf064.image

‘Pacing Parson’ hoofs it through Williston on crusade against pulmonary hypertension

Photo by Elizabeth Hackenburg

 

 

 

 

Keeping On Schedule!

Don is making great headway and keeping up with his schedule! He stopped in Malta on Monday, the 29th and was interviewed by the newspaper, Phillips County News. Here is the link to read the article: ‘Pacing Parson’ appears in Phillips County.

On Tuesday, I spoke with Don and he was enjoying dinner with his great friend, Gary Pederson of Edgewood, WA who met him along the way. Here’s a picture of Don in Glasgow, MT.

Don in MT

 

 

(picture of courtesy of Gary Pederson)

Media Attention While Walking in Montana

Here’s a video from KPAX the CBS affiliate in Missoula interviewing Don on his walk. Share it with your friends!

 

Here’s some media photos we found as Don is walking through Montana. These were taken in Kalispell, MT.

557f0863c97de.image557f0864d2643.imageBrenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake | Posted: Monday, June 15, 2015 11:16 am

Don Stevenson, The “Pacing Parson,” makes his way along U.S. 2 on Monday morning, June 15, in Evergreen. Stevenson, a former United States Marine, is walking from Auburn, Washington to Silver Springs, Maryland for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. (Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)  

 

 

8072674_GPhoto credit: Dax VanFossen

Where’s Don Now?

Webmaster: I spoke to Don today and he is currently in Havre, MT. Don & Loretta are doing fine and enjoying the walk so far. They have encountered wind mostly and have rested at various stops along the way. I’ll be posting a map so you can see their progress! Go to the main menu on the first page & you can see the map!

They stayed at the AmericInn Lodge and Suites in Havre, MT last night and the hotel graciously gave them a complimentary stay. We want to especially thank them! Here’s a link so you can book your stay with them if you’re traveling through and give them a thank you for helping our travelers.

AmericInn Lodge Haver MT

Click here for more info on the AmericInn Lodge!

Stevenson Officially Begins Benefit Walk Tuesday – Auburn Reporter Article

By the Reporter Staff

Don Stevenson, Auburn’s man of sole, is about to launch his latest long-distance dedication.

Stevenson, The Pacin’ Parson, plans to walk 3,000 miles across America – from Auburn to Silver Springs, MD – to raise funds and awareness for pulmonary hypertension (PH), a high-blood pressure disease that affects the heart and lungs.

The walk officially begins at 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 9 from the steps of Auburn City Hall, 25 W. Main St. Supporters are welcome to attend.

The 79-year-old Stevenson hinted last year at retirement from cross country walks after completing a 20,000 -mile trek to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society last year. But the former Marine, pastor, teacher, truck driver and firefighter has decided to walk the long road again.

Read the rest of the article on page 10 here: Auburn Reporter Green Edition, June 5 2015

Here’s a video from the Launch Day!