Stress fracture

Day 32–August 4, 2009

For two weeks, 98 miles, I walked on an injured ankle. Today, after a visit to an orthopedist, an x-ray, and an MRI, I learned that I have a stress fracture of my left tibia. I have been walking on a broken leg.

So, instead of just taking a couple weeks off before I can resume my journey, I will very likely be off the road for close to a month. As a result, this means my trip will need to be drastically altered. I no longer expect to reach San Francisco this year. But it does not mean I am giving up the fight. Nor am I ending my journey. Too many people have told me how important my message is, and countless people, some friends some strangers, have encouraged me every step of the way.

When I began walking I had hoped it would inspire people to finally see the poverty and struggle right in front of their eyes, and to do something about it. We need not go to Third World nations to see poverty. It is all around us–the man at the side of the highway holding out a cup and asking for change; the waitress who continues to live with an abusive boyfriend because she can’t afford to live on her own; the fast-food worker who lives in his car; the college student who buys a package of Ramen noodles with a handful of loose change. I have yet to talk to a single person who does not think our nation has a problem. Even those who did not want to pay taxes to fund “handouts” or who suggested that poor people are lazy agreed that something must be done.

And I’ve been honored that so many people have told me what I’m doing is brave. But I am not brave. The real bravery, the real strength, lies with those who toll day after day in low-paying jobs and live in substandard housing or who have nothing but the clothes on their backs. I will continue my journey for them.

– By Jennifer E. Cooper