Young Man Walks Across America for Children’s Hospital

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Jesse VanOsdol nears the finish of his walk across America for Riley Hospital for Children.

Jesse VanOsdol

Jesse VanOsdol walks across America

I'm doing this to raise money for the patients on the burn unit who are there right now and who will be there in the future...Riley holds a special place in my family's heart.

Jesse VanOsdol, who has been on a fundraising walk across America for a children’s hospital since November 17, 2011, has just hit the state of Florida.

Jesse, 20, was a patient in the Burn Unit at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis in June 2010. He was burned in a bonfire accident shortly after high school graduation. He spent the next several weeks recovering from second- and third-degree burns.

So far, Jesse has walked through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, walking over 2,000 miles to date. Jacksonville, FL is Jesse’s final destination. He has averaged about 20 miles every day, with his longest day being a 50-mile day when he walked all night in Texas.

Jesse’s goal is to raise $15,000 for the Burn Unit. So far, he has raised just over $8,800 at his secure, professional First Giving website at

To follow Jesse’s journey, check out his personal blog at

The hike is something that Jesse just feels led to do. “I am doing this to raise money for the patients on the burn unit who are there right now and who will be there in the future, “ he said. “Riley was so important to my health and healing. But, as my parents reminded me, it's not just me. I had an older sister who was at Riley, Larissa, who died of a heart defect when she was 11-days old. My cousin's daughter, Alexandria, received loving care at Riley until she also passed away. I've also had other extended family members whose children have been successfully treated at Riley. It holds a special place in my family's heart.”

Jesse is available for personal and phone interviews with the local media in each city he walks through. He’s already had many interesting experiences, including being caught in the Santa Ana windstorm in his tent in the Mojave Desert and being tracked by the Border Patrol in New Mexico. Jesse can be reached on his cell phone at 317-989-2766.

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