LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – A bone cancer survivor walking across the country to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer stopped in Las Vegas before his final destination in Los Angeles.
Cody O’Connor walks from Times Square to the Santa Monica Pier. His journey began in November and will include a total of 3,700 miles on foot.
When O’Connor was 14, he was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, which affects around 400 children in America each year.
“When I was battling bone cancer, I lost my entire right fibula in my right leg. Among other things, I was told I would never walk normally again,” O’Connor said.
The eldest of seven siblings, O’Connor’s diagnosis impacted his entire family.
“Some of the biggest things my family went through were bankruptcy, eviction, divorce and wondering where the food came from,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor founded the non-profit organization Champions Do Overcome, whose mission is to pay all living expenses for families affected by childhood cancer.
O’Connor battled cancer for a year and has now been in remission for 10 years. To mark the milestone, he began his journey on foot to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer.
“The battle with cancer itself, going through it was just kind of normal, it was like a disease for me anyway, I was very blessed in that way, but the aftermath, the feeling of isolationism, the feeling of loneliness, fear for my life every time the scans came it was much more detrimental to my mental health and wellbeing so hopefully we can connect with the patients and connect all of that from positive way,” O’Connor said.
On Friday, O’Connor crossed the Hoover Dam on his way to Nevada, his 16th state. He predicts he has covered 3,530 miles so far and no steps have been easy.
“There wasn’t a step that didn’t hurt or bruise me, my hips separated, spun down, we overcame exhaustion, it often happens that you sleep in a car. But that’s it for impact,” O’Connor said.
On Sunday, FOX5 sat down with O’Connor at McMullan’s Irish Pub. Lynn McMullan is a pediatric survivor.
“There will always be something unexpected tomorrow – but have faith, believe and step closer because the end – cancer is not your eternity,” O’Connor said.
FOX5 asked the 25-year-old what helped him overcome. He attributes his determination to sheer stubbornness and faith.
“It was something that I had to really look within. I could either be a product of my environment or make my environment a product of me and I chose the latter of the two,” O’ said. Connor.
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