A lovely grieving family, months after they lost their daughter to cancer, decided to trek 4,000 miles across the country — on foot (their golden retriever joined in too)!
Jennifer and Jonathan Cobb and their three children chose to do this in honor of their daughter Julia Cobb, who had Ewing’s sarcoma and passed away in October 2013, at the end of a Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World in Florida
“The walk itself took 320 days,” Jennifer Cobb, of Houston, Texas, told TODAY.com. “We decided to walk from Disneyland to Disney World because that’s where we had our last great memories of Julia.”
“We did it on a wing and a prayer,” she said, adding that the family had no sponsors and little money, just a goal to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer, and trust that kind people would help them along their way.
“One day before she died, she danced with Prince Charming and had a photo shoot with Cinderella. It was beautiful,” Julia’s mother Jennifer Cobb told Yahoo Parenting.
They finished up in Disney World 320 days later.
Throughout their 10-month trek from California to Florida, which they completed last month, the family walked an average of 30 to 40km every day – equivalent almost to a daily marathon.
Strangers stepped up and paid for their meals in restaurants, hotels comped their rooms and the donations helped pay for other expenses. The family spoke at churches, schools and rotary clubs worldwide “anywhere that would have us,” Cobb said — to share their story and promote the JuCan Foundation, raising money to fight pediatric cancer.
Walking through the Mojave Desert was one of the hardest things to do, where Cobb said they sweated through 120-degree days.
And in Mississippi, their precious, 14-year-old dog became needed to be put to sleep.
The family arrived at Disney World on Father’s Day last month.
Their goal today is to build something called the “JuCan Castle,” to provide a place to stay for families visiting the MD Cancer Center or the Texas Medical Center in Houston.
“We took our lesson from Ju,” Cobb said. “And every day we still struggle. It’s great to talk about the fun, inspirational walk, but we are grieving still. We very much miss our daughter every day. But in the midst of our grief, we said, what’s the best way to get through this? To help other people. If we walked 4,000 miles and only impacted one person, then it’s still worth it.”