Archive for Thursday, June 1, 2006

Causes to keep walker busy

June 1, 2006

This weekend doesn't look to be a walk in the park for Lansing resident John Wendel.

Oh, Wendel will be plenty busy walking, for sure. But instead of leisurely strolls, he'll be raising money for two charitable causes: multiple sclerosis research and the fight against cancer.

Wendel, a retired banker, is participating in this weekend's MS Challenge Walk, a three-day, 50-mile trek to raise funds to fight MS, a neurological disease that affects the central nervous system and can cause blurred vision, loss of balance, paralysis or blindness.

The walk begins at 7 a.m. Friday in Weston, Mo., with a 20-mile leg that ends at University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth.

By 8 p.m. Friday, Wendel will make his way to Abeles Field in Leavenworth to walk a few laps in the Leavenworth Council of the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, which raises funds for cancer research.

Then it's back to the MS Challenge Walk for another 20-mile leg through Leavenworth County on Saturday and a 10-mile leg Sunday that ends in Parkville, Mo.

Participating in both walks is personal.

"My daughter, Monica Wagner, completed the MS walk last year, and I thought I ought to be helping her out," Wendel said, explaining that Monica has MS.

As for the Relay for Life, Wendel is a cancer survivor, having beat back prostate cancer in 2004.

Wendel's confident he can handle the load. After all, he's been training for months with Wagner, a Lansing resident who'll also be participating in this year's MS Challenge Walk.

"We get up at 5 a.m. every morning and walk three to five miles," Wendel said. In addition, he participates in a fitness class at Lansing Activity Center every Tuesday and Thursday.

The leap from five miles to 20 miles in a day and 50 miles in three days is a big one, though. Wendel, 60, said he hadn't walked so much in years.

"Only in the Army," he joked. "And I was 18 then."

Still, Wendel said he figured he wouldn't have much trouble completing the walks.

"My legs are all right," he said. "I just hope my feet will hold up from the blisters."

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