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Stevens Point woman completes walk from Stevens Point to Texas

Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 10:25 PM CST
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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - A central Wisconsin woman has successfully completed her walk from Stevens Point to Texas. It’s an update on a story NewsChannel 7 first told you about in September 2021.

Mary Hesch started her walk on Sept. 15, 2021 and finished on Dec. 30, 2021. She did it to bring awareness to Pulmonary Fibrosis, a rare lung disease that her mom died of 25 years ago. However, the walk became even more meaningful after a turn of events.

“It was magical and challenging, those are my two words that I’ve come up with,” Hesch said.

To Hesch, her walk to the Corpus Christi area from Stevens Point is something she’ll never forget. She did it to honor her mom.

“I thought as long as I want to walk to an ocean, why don’t I walk to her favorite spot and we actually did a celebration of life for her down here [Port Aransas] and her ashes are in the bay of the Gulf,” Hesch said.

Mary’s 1,439-mile walk took 99 days, with about eight days of rest.

“It went by really fast. Every day seemed to bring some new connecting experience,” Hesch said.

But on the way, her walk took on a new meaning. Mary’s biggest cheerleader was her 93-year-old dad, Orville. On Dec. 12, 2021 tragedy occurred. Little did she know, her goodbye to him at the start of her walk would be her last.

“When I heard about his death, I cried for two hours and I kept saying ‘you know, I think it would be a good thing to walk today and just get my mind off of it and my dad would want me to finish,’” Hesch said.

Though the walk increasingly became physically and emotionally draining, Hesch didn’t make this walk alone.

“It’s something I never thought I’d do and how many people get to do that, you know, I feel really, really lucky,” walking partner Joan Dold said.

Hesch’s friend, Dold, stuck with her the whole way. Supporting Hesch and a cause to change lives.

“If we only made a difference in 10 people’s lives. That was worth it for me,” Hesch said.

Hesch carried her dad’s ashes for the final few steps and spread them in the water. Mary’s parents were now reunited.

“I love you so much, I miss you so much,” Hesch said while remembering her dad. “Hope I made you proud.”

Mary’s walk raised about $37,000, but her goal was to get $50,000. She’s still accepting donations. You can follow the link to donate.

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