""Back in 1977, I was doing the morning show at B100 FM and I was the Co-host of the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon in San Diego. We heard about this guy who was walking across America for MDA. I remember I got to interview him and he told me how he did it, and where he started, and we were so thrilled, of course! I had to make a funny comment, "Since you walked across America, I bet you had a smile on your face and I bet you were picking the bugs out of your teeth!" John Cushman is a good man with a BIG Heart! ("Shotgun Tom" Kelly)
1977 – A hero shows up…John Cushman, aka, “The Walker.” This young man steps up and dedicates himself to literally walking from New York City to San Diego, California. Why? For Jerry’s Kids - Muscular Dystrophy Association. John called the walk, “The Walk for Humanity.” He wanted to set an example to the children with muscular dystrophy that they should never give up and to believe that anything is possible. John hoped to shine a light for Jerry’s kids with his walk from New York City to San Diego and keep hope alive. (John Monte)
John Cushman is walking across America to raise awareness about a chronic illness – for the second time. His walk in 1977 was to raise awareness about muscular dystrophy, and he did it in record time: 49 days, 7 hours, 14 minutes. His 2017 walk, which began in September in Washington, D.C., is to raise awareness about diabetes. “My biggest surprise is that I’m not 21 anymore,” jokes Cushman, who is now 61. “I’m trying to meet more people this time. I won’t let my age stop me from doing this.” Says Cushman: “The first three weeks were tough, but by the fourth week my feet started to respond and I went from walking a mile an hour to three miles an hour.” Cushman’s 1977 muscular dystrophy walk was inspired by the late Jerry Lewis. This time, he’s walking for his family. Cushman’s son recently lost kidney function as a result of being a type 1 diabetic. “I have raised seven children, and the eldest is a type 1 diabetic,” explains Cushman. “I am a father that had to watch his child go through the turmoil of suffering from a chronic disease. He’s now 38, but growing up we really didn’t understand a lot about diabetes.” One in 11 Americans has diabetes. Nearly 86 million more are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Cushman was one of the 86 million, but since he started his walk across the country, he is no longer at risk. “When I started my walk in early September, I was on 19 different medications,” explains Cushman. “I take nothing now. I lost 35 pounds in one state. I’m no longer prediabetic and my high blood pressure is gone. It sounds obvious, but diet and exercise is the key.” Currently walking through Tennessee, Cushman, who is from Oregon, says his cross-country walk is different this time. “I’m taking my time,” he notes. “I’m trying to meet more people. My original goal was to complete the walk, ending in San Diego, by January 14th,. Follow Cushman’s walk across the country, where he vlogs daily about his progress.