Feb 19, 2010

136-mile march to the White House begins

Antoinette Krause, Bill West, Athena Ford, and Amy Fitzpatrick are four Pennsylvania residents who set out this week on a 136-mile march from Philadelphia to DC to bring their message to Congress: it is time to listen to the American people- not the big insurance lobbyists- and pass health care reform.

The four are marching in memory of their friend Melanie Shouse, who lost a long battle with breast cancer after missing out on critical treatment due to a lack of affordable health insurance.

You can follow the marchers' thoughts from the road at MelaniesMarch.com:

As many of you know, a few of us left Philadelphia yesterday to embark on a mission – to walk 136 miles in 8 days and arrive in DC to tell Congress it’s time to Finish Reform.

A rally in Philly sent us off, over 150 people came and many marched with us the first couple of blocks. A few folks even marched the entire way to Delaware County where we ended the day with a vigil in front of Taylor Hospital.

The actual walking part has been more difficult than expected. We hadn’t accounted for the simple obstacle of snow – four feet of snow iced over covered a good portion of the sidewalks we had been relying on for safe passage. Weaving in and out of snow banks, crisscrossing streets -were able to pull it together to finish the miles of the day. And, amazingly, we’ve been able to keep on pace for the most part in order to make it to our events.

Despite the obstacles and sore legs, spirits are high! Today, a man threw up his window and cheered us on. A Pastor, welcomed us into his church with a rally and a home cooked meal. A clapping group of locals met us at Mr. Pasta for a meet up where they shared their stories and massaged our necks. And a groups of teenagers eagerly awaiting the legal driving age gave us the most quizzical look and asked “why don’t you just drive?!”

The press has been following us closely. Word about the March is really getting around. We’re all so very proud of the volunteers making this such a success. One of our organizers, Dave, is so proud, in fact, that he took two of them to get pedicures tonight.

I’m currently drafting this from the entry way of a church in Wilmington that has shown us incredible hospitality. After finishing up this blog post and brainstorming for final activities, Antoinette and I are going to prepare for tomorrow.

We’ve got another 17 miles of adventure ahead of us.

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