Eric’s Successful 50-50 Walk-Fundraiser

50 Hours Walking / 108 miles / $8,000 for AFS Greater Los Angeles Local Scholarship Program

Thanksgiving 2016 wasn’t just turkey and dressing for Eric Norris.  Eric was on a mission of thanks. Early that morning, Eric set out on a 50-hour walk. He started in Downtown Los Angeles and walked –yes walked—to Manhattan Beach.  Eric walked 100,000 steps on turkey day. And then he turned around and walked to Pasadena!  In 50 hours, Eric walked over 108 miles. He raised over $8000 for our local scholarships account!

As many of you know, AFS Greater Los Angeles sends students from low-income areas on life changing AFS experiences for a year, semester or summer. Our donors, volunteers and the students work hard to make this happen. We have raised more than $500,000 and helped send almost 90 local scholarship students. We could not do this without people like Eric.

Here’s what Eric had to say about his experience:

The whole thing is still a little surreal for me. It’s not that I went into this expecting to fail, it’s just that it was so far beyond anything that I’ve ever done before, I just wasn’t sure it was even possible. Well, apparently, it is. I knew from my training that my feet would be my weakest link. But they hung in there even though I developed a blister (thank you Blister Pads), something that hadn’t happened during my hundreds of miles of training.

I couldn’t have done this without you all. It’s a bit of a cliché but totally true. From all the texts and emails I received, to those of you who walked with me, or brought me food, or clothes (it got down to 40 degrees my second night and I was ill prepared), or talked with me on the phone, or surprised me with a visit – it all made a huge difference. As I’m sure you know, doing something like this is a mental exercise more than anything else and your support made a meaningful difference. So thank you!

Some of you have been asking if I came close to giving up. The short answer is no but I definitely had my struggles. The low point for me was Friday afternoon. My feet were pretty tender at that point and the thought of continuing on for another 20 hours was pretty overwhelming. So I decided to do something different and listen to music and it totally changed things. (Normally I just get lost in thought as I walk.) I actually picked up my pace a bit. And then my niece called and we talked for an hour. That got me completely out of my funk.

The overall feeling I have after going through this crazy (and I’ll be the first to admit it was crazy) challenge is one of gratitude. Gratitude for your generosity. Gratitude for your friendship. And that’s kind of a nice place to be. And now I think I hear the Epsom salt calling my name.

 – Barbara Hensleigh, Scholarships Coordinator

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