Cancer survivor defying the odds, walking across the country

Cancer survivor defying the odds, walking across the country

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MIDDLETOWN, Ky. — One Ohio native is using his past battle with cancer to inspire others never to give up on their battle.

What You Need To Know

  • Cody O’Connor was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma at age 14 
  • ”Walk for Hope” a 3,000 mile cross-country journey from New York to California
  • Champions Do Overcome is a non-profit to help patients and families battling pediatric cancer
  • O’Connor hopes to raise $300,000 towards pediatric cancer patients

One step in front of another: it’s something doctors told Cody O’Connor he would never do after being diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma at age 14. O’Connor was diagnosed in 2010 and after a 10-month battle he was finally cancer free in August of 2016.


Cody was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma at age 14 and battled cancer for nearly a year. (Cody O’Connor)

“Towards the end of everything I lost my whole fibula which ended up meaning that I would never walk normally again in my life, was never supposed to run, was never supposed to play any sports ever again and all of that was very demoralizing,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor is now defying the odds as he kicks off the “Walk for Hope.” 

The journey started in New York City’s Times Square and will end in Santa Monica, California – visiting more than ten cities along the way, including New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Louisville, St Louis, Kansas City, Topeka, Denver, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

O’Connor is averaging 18 miles per day and will walk more than 3,000 miles on his cross-country journey.

“Is there any way that we could just inspire every city we touch or inspire the nation all together?” O’Connor said. “That’s really where the idea stemmed from, was not only proving to myself that I could do this but seeing the impact that we had on a local level we were like, ‘What can it be if we go across the nation?’” 

As the oldest of seven siblings, O’Connor said his family struggled with many tribulations.

“At the conclusion of my battle my family fought eviction, bankruptcy, wondered where food was coming from and somehow still managed to worry about Christmas presents and things of that nature,” O’Connor said.

He’s hoping to raise 300,000 dollars towards pediatric cancer patients through his non-profit Champions Do Overcome. In 2018, O’Connor founded the non-profit to support patients and families battling pediatric cancer.

The team is just $70,000 shy of their goal that would allow Champions Do Overcome to help at least one family in every major city Cody has visited.

“[There are some] things that you shouldn’t have to go through on top of fighting cancer. So we’ll pay mortgages, rent, utilities, car payments, food, gas, as well as sending the parents on date nights to decompress and keep that family unit whole ensuring no child is left to fight by themselves,” O’Connor said.

During O’Connor’s four-to-five month trek, he hopes to inspire others that nothing is impossible.

“I think the biggest thing is to hold onto your dreams,” O’Connor said. “This walk I want to symbolize that any type of battle you’re going through is temporary, that it’s not an eternity, that you can have a whole lifetime of happiness and hope. continue to fight and don’t give up.”

Cody O’Connor is expected to be done with the “Walk for Hope” right after Thanksgiving.

For more information on how you can help or donate, visit Champions Do Overcome or find them on Instagram and Facebook.

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