Ahead of 80th Birthday, “Pacing Parson” to Walk Across America for Pulmonary Hypertension Association, PHA Invites Supporters to Follow 3,000-Mile Journey @PHAssociation

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Six months ahead of his 80th birthday, Don Stevenson (AKA the Pacing Parson), a Seattle-area (Auburn, Wash.) retired minister and former U.S. Marine, will walk across America to raise awareness and money for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA).

Don Stevenson

Who:
Six months ahead of his 80th birthday, Don Stevenson (AKA the Pacing Parson), a Seattle-area (Auburn, Wash.) retired minister and former U.S. Marine, will walk across America to raise awareness and money for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA).

  • Stevenson will walk 25-30 miles each day, from Auburn to PHA’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Md., taking Sundays off to rest.
  • Stevenson’s walk for PHA is his 20th since 1998 to raise money and awareness for medical causes he supports.
  • Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is high blood pressure in the vessels of the lungs, which can lead to death from heart failure. There is no cure. Stevenson had believed a 20,000-mile charity walk he completed last year would be his final one. However he felt compelled to support PHA after visiting Betty Mayfield, a fellow church     member, in the hospital before she died of the disease.
  • The walk will honor Mayfield, along with Dorothy Fitch, a close friend who is struggling with PH, and 14-year-old Cullen Steele, a local (Kent, Wash.) PH patient who recently underwent a heart and lung transplant. In 2010, Stevenson walked 1,200 miles around the perimeter    of Washington State to help raise money for expenses related to the boy’s surgery.

What:
PHA relies on donations to fund patient and caregiver support services, PH public awareness and medical education programs, specialty care resources and research to find ways to prevent and cure the disease. For 12    consecutive years, PHA has received the highest rating - four stars - for fiscal accountability and transparency from Charity Navigator, placing it in the top one percent of all rated charities.

How:
PHA will chronicle Stevenson’s journey on social media while inviting people to walk with him and capture the experience via photos and short video clips.

  • Stevenson will follow a route along Highway 2 across the northern part of the U.S.
  • He will complete 25-30 miles a day and catch up with his wife, Loretta, who will drive ahead and secure overnight accommodations.
  • The Stevenson’s will pass through Michigan and then head south across the Straits of Mackinaw, through Detroit and Ohio before finally arriving in Silver Spring, Md., at the headquarters of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. The goals is to reach PHA Headquarters on Sept. 16.
  • On May 16, Stevenson completed 500 miles, reaching Libby, Mont., in the unofficial start of his walk. The head start increases the chances that the walk and return trip by car take place during good weather with an arrival to PHA’s Maryland headquarters by Sept. 16. People and businesses will support Stevenson through sponsorships and donations to PHA.

Donors can support Stevenson by going to PHAssociation.org/PacingParson and following his journey @PHAssociation on Twitter and Pulmonary Hypertension Association on Facebook. PHA asks that supporters add #PacingParsonPHA to their social media posts.

Where:
Walk kicks off at the steps of Auburn City Hall, 25 W. Main St.

When:
Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - 9:00 a.m. PT
PHA Executive Vice President Carl Hicks, who lost his daughter to PH; PHA support group patients and caregivers; members of the medical community; and other supporters will join Stevenson for the send-off event.

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Renee Hockaday
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