Posted at: 09/29/2013 9:50 PM
Updated at: 09/30/2013 3:26 PM
Woman Passes Through Local Area on Cross-Country Trek
(ABC 6 News) -- This weekend, Southern Minnesota is playing host to a young woman walking across the country for charity.
Stacie Eichinger's journey began on May 8th, in a small town in Washington.
"I touched the Pacific Ocean, turned around and started walking,” Eichinger said.
Eichinger spent Saturday night in Albert Lea, marking the halfway point of her nearly 3,800 mile trek to Savannah, Georgia.
"I don't really get tired anymore, it's just like going to work every day,” Eichinger said. “I have camped. I've camped in RV parking lots, I've slept in fire stations, I've camped on the side of the road in ditches."
She's walking to raise money for Beads of Courage, an art program that gives kids in hospitals a way to commemorate their treatment milestones with individualized beads
"They can tell their entire story of what they've gone through, through beads,” Eichinger said. “And have tangible evidence to show everyone, 'Look what all I've gone through, and look how strong I am.'"
Walking an average of eight to ten hours each day, Eichinger said the kids she's visited give her the strength she needs to keep moving.
"Any day that I think is difficult, whatever that may be, climbing a mountain, literally, or a really hot day, nothing compares to what some of these kids have gone through,” Eichinger said. “So it gives me my drive and motivation to keep going."
Eichinger will spend the night in Austin before continuing her journey south.
She said the support she's received from people along the way gives her hope and renewed faith in the generosity of others.
"I get a lot of honks, a lot of waves, people stop, give me water, give me donations, give me a treat,” Eichinger said. “They say ‘What is this world coming to?’ And I would have to say that there's a lot more good than bad, you just have to open your eyes and find it."
Eichinger will visit children at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester later this week.
She said she hopes to reach Savannah by February.