A summer-long journey with a purposeHis dream is to conquer the Mississippi River. His motivation is to raise money for a cure – a cure to stop the disease that he has found himself fighting as an 18-year-old man. The disease is Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
By: Kendra Hartsell, Contributing writer, Alexandria Echo Press
His dream is to conquer the Mississippi River.
His motivation is to raise money for a cure – a cure to stop the disease that he has found himself fighting as an 18-year-old man.
The disease is Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Brock Wood, a 2012 graduate of Jefferson High School of Alexandria, plans to help other victims of lymphoma by kayaking the Mississippi River this summer.
He will start at the headwaters in Itasca State Park on June 17 and hopes to finish in New Orleans in mid-August.
Wood’s dream began a year ago when he thought that kayaking the Mississippi “would be a cool adventure.” Then, after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in October 2012, his dream became bigger and fueled by a purpose.
“I want to raise money to go toward research for a cure for lymphoma,” says Wood.
He has named his journey “Paddle 4 Kins,” which has now been made an official nonprofit organization through the state of Minnesota.
Joining him on this trip of a lifetime will be Jesse Hacker, who is also a 2012 graduate of Jefferson High School.
A website, Facebook page, and Twitter account have been set up to follow their journey. Video footage will be posted to the website and Facebook page one to two times a week as they travel 2,350 miles down the third longest river in North America.
Wood hopes to start buying his supplies as soon as possible. Some of the most important items include a kayak and paddles, life preserver, helmet, rope and tarp. He also plans to bring a regular camping pack with dried goods including rice, macaroni and beans.
Every 10 to 15 days he will need to buy more food and water as he travels.
Wood is not nervous about his journey down the river that more than 50 cities rely on for their daily water supply.
“I am most excited to see every state border as I go,” he says.
Wood will pass through Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana.
He foresees the biggest challenges being living out of a tent for two months and simply conquering the Mississippi.
Wood is currently being treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. He has endured two and a half grueling months of chemotherapy and is now undergoing radiation treatments. His final day is scheduled for March 29.
This is a difficult time for Wood and his family, but they say they remain strong in their faith.
Wood is especially strengthened by this Bible verse: “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3-4)
YOU CAN HELP
Donations to assist Wood in purchasing supplies for his journey and to raise funds for the Lymphoma Research Foundation may be made online at www.paddle4kins.org or by check, made out to Paddle 4 Kins, sent to Bell State Bank and Trust, Paddle 4 Kins, 1011 Broadway St., Alexandria, MN 56308. You may also visit www.facebook.com/paddle4kins.
Editor’s note: The article’s author, Kendra Hartsell, is a sister to Brock Wood.