500 MILES OF EL CAMINO / THE WAY OF ST. JAMES IN SPAIN
Buckle Up – Here We Go Up (And Down) Again:
El Camino / The Way of St. James beckons!
i will be trekking 500 miles up and down and across Spain beginning in the Pyrenees Mountains of France in early September. And this climb / trek intends to raise more money to combat youth obesity for the clinics at the Southern Indiana St.Vincent ministeries. Farewellin and departure are a few sunrises away. Six weeks later on 11 October – God willing – the adventure will reach a successful conclusion in western coastal Spain.
So “Beunos dias” and hello from 2trek4kids.
Remember me ? !
It’s been several months since you have received an update !
And those days have been full.
-The youth weight managment prevention / treatment programs are successful! Enrollment in the L.I.F.E. (Lifetime Individual Fitness and Eating) youth weight management clinics at St.Vincent Salem, St.Vincent Jennings, and St.Vincent Dunn continue to progress with almost 100 children having participated. The youth and adolescent patients have lost weight; More importantly, their BMI (Body Mass Index) scores have been lowered. And the clinicians report the kids have had a lot of fun while learning their new skills.
- Funds raised from you wonderfully generous donors to the three St. Vincent clinics exceeded $110,000 before the Camino fundraising campaign began. With the advent of the current expedition’s fundraising, already we have received numerous gifts small and large, including a number of leadership gifts to all three ministeries. The donations are primarily used for scholarships for kids to participate in the clinics. Notably, several of these recent Camino gifts have come from first time givers to 2Trek4Kids. All donations are welcome. In addition, some of the funds raised for the program at St.Vincent Salem are being used to purchase exercise equipment to be used for the LIFE program.
- A non-fiction book chronicling my expedition experiences on five of the world’s seven summits mountains (+ two Rainiers) was begun after I returned from the Rainier II Re-do Climb in June, 2013. I completed the manuscript 365 days later – vigilantly working on it every day throughout the year. And, a publisher has expressed interest! More work is ahead to be sure. The themeatic of the book concerns the spirituality of the mountains. A portion of the proceeds (presuming publication and sales) will benefit 2trek4kids.
- Since retirement on St.Vincent’s birthday in April 2013, my time has been richly full – “The only problem with retirement is you don’t get a day off,” said Blurb Klingelhoffer; and I agree with his humorous / sage sentiment. My volunteerism inclues a bereavement role with the patients and family members at Our Hospice of South Central Indiana in Columbus, continuing my long-time bereavment role with Wings for the Journey for moms and dads who mourn the death of a child in the Bartholomew county area, accepting an invitation to begin a loss group for the Mill Race Senior Center for bereft spouses in Columbus, and helping coordinate the Indiana Healthcare Bicycle Challenge to combat youth obesity. Did I mention continuing to raise awareness and funds for 2Trek4Kids?
-Grandchildren are such a gift. Granddaughter Siena is five; Grandson Drew’s arrival is news to many of you, since he was born just before Thanksgiving. My sons and their lovely wives and the grandkids are wonderful families.
-If you don’t already know…Lori is back in Indiana from Colorado Children’s Hospital – gift. Can it be four Summers ago that we stood atop the summit of Mount Elbrus in Russia ? !
-My Medical Dream Team at the St.Vincent Heart Center and here in Columbus recently evaluated my wellness at A+ – praise the Lord. Imagine a fella with three aneurysms and a “graduate” of open heart surgery pointing to five of the Seven Summits, two Rainier climbs, and now toward a 500 mile trek. How blessed am I?
-And, my training goes well for Camino. I am eager and thrilled for the next challenge. I feel humble, confident and poised for the adventure ahead – a pilgrimmage rich with sacred tradition and Catholic history; Although our St.Vincent, the historical figure himself, though ministering in France “next door,” apparently didn’t journey this way. The trek is up and and down and across Spain, beginning in the Pyrenees Mountains. We go up as high as 5,000 feet (well 4,490), and we trek 500 miles (well 496) from start to finish. The guidebook suggests some of the most arduous (meaning mountainous routes with lengths of 18 and 19 miles a day) are at the beginning and end of the trek. Just when you’re getting started / finishing up – Who planned that? Say prayers!
-You know what is coming next :
I have attached the brochure for the Camino expedition above.
As the brochure says:
“There is no finish line in helping overweight kids.
“2trek4kids intends to downsize youth obesity.
“And to do that, amid struggles for funds, we need you.”
And we need your checkbook :).
And your prayers.
Please partner with us. All gifts are invited and welcome. If you are in a position to consider a leadership gift of $1 a mile ($500), that would be awesome generosity.
What does Scripture say about God loving a cheerful giver?
If you wish to trek with me in Spain – Hurry up and get in touch !
And while you can’t be alongside me in Spain, you still may – “Join the Camino Expedition.”
With this email we are re-activating the expedition blog. Presuming all international connections work as expected, I will send reports back from Camino to you blog readers. And, you can send notes of encouragement to me, if you wish. I will appreciate all the cheerleading I can get! Not to mention your prayers. The blog site is:
Thank you for reading.
May God bless you.
(Waltero = name in Spanish
22 Oct 2013
Happy Autumn and Happy Anniversary.
What we call Indian Summer in the flatlands of Indiana has begun – beautiful crisp mornings; golden sun bathing red, yellow and green tree leaves with a bright sheen; some gossamer spider webs still blow in the fall breeze their tenants MIA, and the final crickets’ song sounds. One year ago today, 22 Oct 2012, I began the first day of the rest of my life with open heart surgery. Nine months later in June you may know I was back at Mount Rainier for the Re-Do II Climb. A year after open heart surgery my wellness is A+; Thanks God.
Above is a picture of me pointing to the summit of Mount Rainier!
This is a brief update on my time since Rainier II. I expect this will be the last update until the next expedition – in 2014 to Spain…El Camino, The Way of St. James.
NEWS MEDIA SITES
2 Trek 4 Kids, the mountains and I were recently featured in the news media. Information on sites is noted below.
-WTIU is the PBS station at Indiana University in Bloomington. To see the video, Google WTIU, then Weekly Special, Indiana Spotlight, find me and the mountains, and then scroll to bottom to view the full episode – it takes about six minutes of screen time. I so appreciated WTIU’s contacting me and Sarah Curtiss’ creative profile.
- Facetofaceradio.com aired a program a couple of weeks after WTIU. A Christian radio program that interviews many baseball major leaguers, other pro athletes, as well as amateurs, the station was interested in the mountain climbs and how they have served as my witness. Tom Rust did an amazing job. Google the sight – On the home page I show up between major leaguers.
- And “The Criterion,” the Indianapolis Archdiocesan newspaper, captured the spirituality of the mountain climbs and how this has informed my theology and life in an article back in August. We’ll try and get “The Criterion” piece on the 2Trek4Kids blog site under the “Media” tab. John Shaughnessy wrote a profound and rich article.
The Way of St. James, a trek across northwest Spain which requires a month and more of daily trekking (over 500 miles total), will be my next fund-raiser. It will be deeply spiritual as I trek where the Apostle James (New Testament) evangelized. My quest for the Seven Summits will preclude Antarctica’s Vinson Massif and Denali/McKinley in Alaska. In consultation with my Medical Dream Team and through my own pondering, prayers and prudence, I have imposed a ceiling of 14,000 feet for future expeditions. Heck, Colorado alone has 50 14teeners I’m told. Fundraising for youth obesity, and for children, continues; The climbing emphasis was re-imagined.
There are dozens of sites about El Camino on the internet. If you would like to learn more Google: Spain -The Way of St. James or visit Wikipedia, it has a detailed explanation about the trek. There is also a YouTube entry entitled “The Way of St. James – More Than Just a Journey” is a colorful four minute video.
Speaking of Colorado, Lori Walton, RN BSN, who brought L.I.F.E. for Kids, the clinical weight management program model to our three southern Indiana hospital ministries, has re-located to Colorado. There she will continue to work with young obese patients through the Children’s Hospital Colorado in suburban Denver. Her new location is one of the top children’s hospitals in the United States. Thank you Lori for a-l-l you did for St. Vincent Jennings and Salem and Dunn – and of course for what you did at St. Vincent Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital. May God bless you and your transition.
Some notes from my retirement, in progress six months on 25 Oct:
-I am now volunteering with Our Hospice of South Central Indiana in my community of Columbus, in a bereavement role. I continue my volunteerism with Wings for the Journey in Columbus, a group for moms and dads whose children have died. And I continue volunteering with Baptist Homes of Indiana’s Ministry on Aging.
-I resumed trekking having taken the summer off. Yes my 22 pound back pack still has kitty litter – yes, fresh kitty litter. I cross-train – mostly on a bicycle; occasionally I play tennis.
-I listened to many of you, at whose urging I have commenced a book on the mountains – the working title is “Seven Mountain Story.” If you think I have a lot to say – Get this: The book already is at 157,000 written words :). The esteemed Thomas Merton wrote a book called “The Seven Storey Mountain”…Hope you excuse my title Fr. Thomas. He was one of the great Catholic thinkers.
-And, drum roll, I have more time with my sons and their families, and the arrival of a new grandson is imminent.
You know I couldn’t write to you without kindly asking you to continue your support for 2Trek4Kids. May I ask you to please consider one more donation this year to help St. Vincent Salem or St. Vincent Dunn, in Bedford. Dunn has more kids enrolled than ever in its youth obesity program; the Salem program runs at near capacity. Your dollars are used primarily for scholarships to subsidize children enrolled in the program. We have been blessed by your past generosity. The expeditions to five of the Seven Summits and the two Rainier climbs have raised awareness of youth obesity and have raised $102,000 to treat it in southern Indiana. How about one more donation this year, please? I’ll not ask again…until El Camino next year :).
Checks are payable to either:
-St.Vincent Dunn Hospital Foundation, 1600 23rd St., Bedford, IN47421.
-St. Vincent Salem Hospital, 911 N. Shelby St., Salem, IN, 47167.
Note 2Trek4Kids in the memo line. All donations are tax deductible.
God bless you, Walter