Gurney's Journey

"Twenty-five years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than the one's you did do" - Mark Twain

It was about 2 years ago when Rick began a series of events that would change our lives forever. In about a 5 month span, Rick was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and had to undergo quadruple bypass heart surgery. To watch the love of your life have to endure all these medical issues was difficult, but Rick's attitude was great. He did what the doctors told him and in record time he was back in the saddle again. It was then that he embraced his medical issues and decided that he was determined to live a happy, healthier and long life. Rick dropped around 50 pounds, he really watched what he ate, and is makes getting more exercise a priority in his life. He faithfully takes his medication for MS - (there is no cure for MS - the medication helps slow the progression of the disease), as well as monitors his blood sugar for the diabetes. Rick is really doing well. He follows up with his doctors as scheduled and they are very pleased with him.

It was during our last vacation in September (2013) to Caldonia State Park near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania that Rick's desire to hike the Appalachian Trail (AT) intensified. While on an overnight trip on the trail he thought about growing up in Maine and how he always wanted to hike on the AT. Soon his thoughts were focused on the idea of completing the entire AT, all 2186 miles of it. Realizing that he has a disease that could potentially one day limit his mobility, he expressed to me his desire of walking the AT. Rick and I set up camp at one of the shelters that evening. That is when we met a Thru-hiker that went by the name, "Maverick". Maverick was a young man (19 years old) that began his southbound journey in July (2013). Rick spent a lot of time questioning Maverick about his his journey, all the while, fueling his desire to join the elite group that complete the entire trail even more. Rick was like a child on Christmas, excited and interested in everything about Maverick's adventure. Rick expressed to me that he really wanted to do this adventure! That is when I realized, this was more than just something on his bucket list, this was something that he really wanted to accomplish. I was sold! I said go for it, and the planning began.

One of the first things he did was attempted to get a leave of absence from work. His employer denied his request for a 6 month leave of absense. We sat down and looked at his options. That is when I told Rick that if this truly is his dream, and it is important to him, then it is my dream too and just as important to me. I told him to do what he needed to do to make this a reality. He said that it meant leaving his job, he questioned me if I would be okay with that. Of course, the practical person in me thought, what are you crazy... but then I thought about it and I thought "In the end, we only regret the chances we didn't take". I told him I was onboard with him!

This is where you all come in. If you would like to help me and become one of Rick's Trail Angels your donation would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us" - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Paul Palko 
    • $60 
    • 65 mos
  • Steve Raseman 
    • $200 
    • 81 mos
  • Bob Lee 
    • $100 
    • 81 mos
  • Steve and Debbie Lampenfeld 
    • $100 (Offline)
    • 82 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 82 mos
See all


Kelly Turnell Gurney 
Pittsburgh, PA
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