First Posted: 1/15/2009
RED SPRINGS -- Never go for a walk with Grandma without asking about the length of the journey.
Forty-seven-year-old Doris Everett may be the only person in America to regularly visit McDonald's and not gain a single pound. Walking six miles to the fast-food restaurant in downtown was part of her training regimen for a 26.2-mile Walk-A-Thon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
“I told my daughter if I wasn't back within a certain time to come looking for me,” said Everett, who has two daughters, LaTasha and Malicia, and four grandchildren, Dexter, Kenya, Gladeshia and Precious.
A search party was never necessary and on June 2, Everett successfully finished the San Diego marathon in just under 6 1/2 hours. More than 16,000 walkers, bikers and runners participated in the event.
It was a test of her mental and physical prowess.
“Training is not like doing the actual 26-mile thing,” she said. “You have to make up your mind that it's something you have to want and do. Your mind really has to be into it, and you have to prepare for it by putting in the miles.”
James “Jim” Urbec helped with the training process as did three other walking partners. Everett says she was healthy to begin with, but found she needed a little push to reach her goal.
“Prayer of friends and family got me through it,” she said. “I don't think any of this would have been possible without the help of my friends, family and church. They were my support system.”
The mission was born when Everett's sister, Gladys W. Mack, died of leukemia in 1999.
“I did it for her initially and found out I was helping out so many others in the process,” Everett said. “I could have done this here, but then I said, 'Hey, why don't I give myself a little treat for working so hard by doing it in California?' So I felt like I gave a gift and got a couple of rewards all in one package.”
Everett raised $3,600 for the cause and hopes to walk in a marathon next year.
Donations can still be sent by mailing a check to 4822 Mt. Tabor Road, Red Springs, N.C. 28377.
“Hopefully next year I can raise more money,” she said. “I'm also hoping my cheerleading section of supporters will be there to push me along.”