Kenton Walks U.S. for Hidradenitis
Latest Update: I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that I get to take a break back home for a while! The bad news is that I came to this decision because of my health. I have a staph infection, a worsening umbilical hernia, and a couple other issues that have developed that I want to address just to make sure I am not in danger. Currently I am treating this like a winter break back home to heal up and re-group with the plan of resuming the awareness campaign afterwards. You all have been a wonderful and incredibly supportive group of friends. Sorry I haven’t updated you with new photos or videos. I should be able to soon though. I had lost my phone, but a kind man named Eduardo Avalos and his son found it and were able to salvage the memory card so I should have some new stuff for you soon. Just so you currently know what is going on, I made it to Panama City Beach at the ocean of the Gulf Coast, nearly 500 miles from my starting point at the Atlantic Ocean off Tybee Island. It has been a long, hard, but rewarding journey so far. I will be home soon to visit my doctor and start recovering.
Original story: Hi! My name is Kenton. I have began walking across America to raise funding for research of Hidradenitis Suppurativa and to spread awareness. I am asking that you help me succeed. Funds will help me on my journey, then the remaining funds will be split 50/50 between two HS non-profits.
To raise awareness for HS I will be doing television interviews, radio / podcast interviews, and written interviews. You can follow my text, photo, and video updates of the journey in the "Kenton's Walk for HS" Facebook group , my Instagram , my YouTube channel , and my blog at WalkForHS.org.
On August 11th, 2017, I began walking from Tybee Island east of Savannah, Georgia. I wet my feet in the Atlantic Ocean and started walking west to the Pacific Ocean on the other side of America. I'll be ending my quest in beautiful sunny Oceanside, California. 2500 miles, ocean to ocean. It will be hot, it will be cold, it will be hard, and it will hurt - but I'll battle through it. I've been wanting to do it a long time, so I am so happy to finally be moving forward with it.
How Will Donations Be Used?
Initially, donations will help me on my journey across America, making sure I don't find myself without food, a place to throw my tent up, or without shoes on my feet. It will also help to keep me connected so I can document the journey on YouTube and keep the blog on WalkForHS.org updated.
All raised money remaining after the walk has ended will be split evenly, one half donated to HS-Foundation.org and the rest I will use to transform Walk For HS from a walking blog to a living, breathing, non-profit so that it can continue to do good even after the walk is over.
I am not affiliated with The Hidradenitis Suppurativa Foundation, but the money donated to it will do a great deal for people with HS. It's organized by doctors that research the disease, educate others, and develop treatments.
Walk For HS will be a non-profit encouraging awareness by holding special public events, connecting HS patients to one another for both support and knowledge sharing, and serve as a disseminator of funds. This means it would disperse donations it receives out to the most promising HS ventures, whether it be to an organization like HS-Foundation.org, similar groups, or to individuals or companies aspiring to create online or store-shelf treatments. It's best not to keep all our eggs in one basket.
The funds raised on this GoFundMe can happen over a long period of time, because the walk itself may take over 6 months. I don't need a certain amount exactly to begin the walk itself. I have a little of my own money to get myself started. Check if my journey will come near you. Even if you can't donate I could use a bed and a shower or at the very least a yard to throw my cot.
Point is, every little bit you give would make a dramatic difference in the quality and safety of my walk, even if it is a few months from now. I am eternally grateful. I will be walking for a long time.
What is Hidradenitis Suppurativa?
Hidradenitis Suppurativa is a non-contagious chronic skin disorder characterized by recurrent boil-like lumps under the skin. It is very painful and is said to be incurable. Over time the condition worsens and leaves its victims with massive scarring and holes in their bodies. Eventually it makes it dificult to move without severe pain.
I have had HS since I was about twelve, but only recently in 2010 was I given an official diagnosis. HS is a largely overlooked skin disorder, since it shows up in places typically not visible to others. Because of its presence in intimate areas, people tend to be too embarrassed to get diagnosed or to even talk to friends or family about it. Though it can appear in more visible areas, it has often been called an "invisible disease". As such, it hasn't gotten the attention it needs to bring in funding to help develop good treatments for those who suffer from it.
A note to my concerned friends and family:
Many people before me have done this walk. In fact, my walk goes along the bottom edge of the US, so it is about 500 miles shorter than many of the transcontinental walks that have been done before.
Also, don't worry about my encounters with other people. Nearly everyone that has done a walk has said the biggest surprise was how amazing and good-hearted the people they encountered were. By and large, their experiences with other people along the way were positive experiences.
I want to do this to inspire others with HS. My condition is not yet as severe as many and I understand there are some whose HS is far enough along in severity that a walk like this would be out of the question. For those of you at that point: I am doing this for you too, not just myself. Since this disease is progressive, that is one of the reasons I want to do this walk now while I can and not later when I can't.
I hope I am able to inspire some people with burdens to do something they've wanted to but have been afraid of.