WSPA News7's meteorologist, Dan Bickford, enjoys hiking. But 28.3 miles in 1-day? That is not the typical hiking outing. Nevertheless, Dan attended a Make-A-Wish Trailblaze Challenge information meeting to find out more about the program and not long after, signed up to become a Fall 2017 hiker. Dan knew he wanted to help create hope for kids with critical illnesses.
Throughout the sixteen-week training period together with WSPA senior promotions producer, Robb Baker, who hiked alongside Dan to film the experience, Dan hiked nearly one hundred miles and raised an outstanding $2,500 for Make-A-Wish. He participated in the hike with community members from across the state and of varying ages and skill levels, becoming part of the Trailblaze family. Dan got to know, Rob, a wish kid with cystic fibrosis who hiked the full 28.3 miles on the same day as Dan and began to see the hike program in a whole new light.
The result of this journey was not what he would have expected when he began it. Every aspect of this experience, from the time he signed up, throughout the training season to crossing the finish line on hike day, taught him something. While he knew when he started it was for a good cause, Dan admits the impact made by participating in the Trailblaze Challenge was more than simply "doing good." Dan's efforts raised awareness and funds so that kids battling critical illnesses could look forward with hope, have a sense of renewed energy and be strong to face their health challenges. Trailblaze Challenge was truly a life-changing event - for the hikers and wish kids alike.
Watch Dan's journey: