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Cross-country walker to finish his journey for cancer research

KEY WEST, Fla. — Nov. 8, 2007 — Matthew Gregory, the Washington state man who's spent more than a year walking across the nation to benefit Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, expects to conclude his odyssey today at the southernmost city in the United States — Key West.

On Sept. 1, 2006, Gregory set out from his home near the Canadian border in Bellingham, Wash., having just sold his truck and quit his job with a beverage distributor to accommodate his plans. His trek took him down the West Coast, then from Southern California east toward Florida.

Along the 5,000 mile walk Gregory has been camping and accepting offers of room and board, along with donations for the Hutchinson Center. He's stayed in 109 private residences offered mostly by people he'd just met. "I didn't realize just how generous they would be," Gregory said. "But cancer leads to so much loss in people's lives, and I really believe the average American is good and wants to help," he said, pointing out that in nearly 5,000 miles of walking he's never been mugged and rarely been bothered by anyone.

Whenever possible Gregory has added to his blog diary at www.mywalkingadventure.com and has collected video for a documentary he intends to produce when he returns to the Northwest.

Gregory has been walking in honor of his mother, Carolyn Gregory, who died from cancer in 1999. She had given birth to Gregory prematurely while suffering from leukemia; he credits a bone-marrow transplant at the Hutchinson Center for extending her life 20 years.

"My mother's life is the main motivator for me making the walk for cancer research," Gregory said. "We were both lucky to live. Then the Hutchinson Center helped save her life. That's why I chose to raise funds for them."

To date Gregory has raised more than $10,000 for cancer research at the Hutchinson Center. Persons wishing to donate may do so in memory of Carolyn Gregory through www.mywalkingadventure.com.

Gregory got the idea of a cross-country walk from a friend who suggested they make the trek together. The friend backed out, but Gregory decided to proceed. "This journey has allowed me to get to know the country," he said.

Gregory says he'll take a train — not a plane — to return to the Northwest. "It just didn't seem right to fly back so quickly when it took me months in the other direction," he said. "When I get back, what I want to do is catch up with friends and family I've missed. Just sitting down and having coffee with them sounds so good right now."

Media Contact
Christi Ball Loso
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
(206) 667-5215
closo@fhcrc.org

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, our interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists and humanitarians work together to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Our researchers, including three Nobel laureates, bring a relentless pursuit and passion for health, knowledge and hope to their work and to the world. For more information, please visit www.fhcrc.org.