Marysville News

Walk Across America

Trek intended to raise funds for cancer research

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Groveport resident Diane Factor is looking forward to a visit from her brother sometime in the next few weeks.

Then they'll both hit the road: Her brother, Dave Brown, is walking across the United States via U.S. Routes 40 and 50 to commemorate his late wife, Joan Chermack Brown, and raise money for ovarian cancer research. Factor plans to join him in his trek through Ohio.

Brown, a Newark native, began his walk Feb. 28 in Atlantic City. The 61-year-old has been averaging about 14 miles a day since leaving the coast and will have covered about 3,000 miles total by the time he reaches San Francisco.

He has been faithfully recording photos and anecdotes from each day's walk and posting them on his website, ocjoan.blogspot.com.

Factor said Brown's schedule would have him traversing across Ohio from March 29 through April 14. She looks forward to cheering him on and walking with him, she said.

"We both grew up in Newark," she said. "Dave graduated from Newark Catholic High School, and our mom, Leola Brown, and brother, Dan Brown, both still live there.

"He's hoping to raise awareness and money for research -- $100,000 total -- and we're hoping that his native state will be particularly supportive of his efforts as he walks through Ohio."

Brown is collecting donations online and via check in memory of his deceased wife for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. Thus far, he has raised about $10,000 toward the $100,000 goal.

Factor said that along with the donations, her brother has been very thankful for the offers of lodging as he crosses the country; she said he's had to stay in a motel only one night thus far, thanks to everyone's generosity and support.

Although the project seemed overly ambitious at first, she said, she soon realized that if anyone could do it, her brother could, and she quickly agreed to support him.

"After Joan died in 2011, he told us about this idea, and I said, 'That's a long time, and 3,000 miles is a long way,' but after it settled in, I agreed it was a wonderful thing for him to do," Factor said. "Both Dave and Joan were members of the American Volkssport Association, a walking club that they did a lot of events with before she died, so it makes sense he'd want to do this.

"Joan was such a wonderful person, and they were both avid walkers who had about 30 great years together."

According to Factor, Joan Brown received a clean check-up in February 2011 before suddenly falling ill in April. She succumbed in August 2011.

"It's such a scary disease and easy to miss the signs, so part of what Dave is doing is passing out educational information on cards along the way," Factor said.

Brown wrote on his website that his wife had asked him to do something to help educate women about ovarian cancer. He refers to her as "the love of my life."

"Before she passed away from the dreaded disease, she told me if there was anything that I could do to use her experience to help other women with ovarian cancer, she was for it," he wrote. "This is the reason for the walk."

Information about ovarian cancer, daily travel updates, donations, providing lodging or Brown's walking route are available on his website or by emailing ocmdbreeze@aol.com.

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