Cross country walker grabs R&R in Marquette
By Audrey Posten
For six years Stacie Eichinger has been volunteering with the organization Beads of Courage, which provides arts-in-medicine supportive care programs for children coping with serious illness, as well as their families and the health care providers who care for them. For every procedure a child in treatment receives, there is a very specific bead to go with it.
Three years ago that volunteerism turned into plans to walk across the country, an idea Eichinger, who is from Tucson, Ariz., had fostered since she read Peter Jenkins’ book “Walk across America” in high school.
Eichinger started her walk in Ocean Shores, Wash., on May 8. Her journey will continue through February, when it will end in Savannah, Ga.
She is walking with little shoe beads that she can pass out to the children she meets at the hospitals along her route. Each bead comes with a card explaining how many miles she has walked, as well as which states she has walked through.
On Sunday and Monday, on her way south from Rochester, Minn., Eichinger stayed in Marquette at the Cobblestone Inn and Suites, where she was put up by Lady Luck Casino.
Eichinger will then head east toward Madison and eventually Milwaukee, where she will visit another hospital.
Eichinger said the landscape has been her favorite thing about the area.
“Being from Arizona, we don’t get the nice fall colors,” she said.
Already on her fifth pair of shoes, and despite pushing a 100-pound cart, Eichinger said the trip has not been too physically taxing for her.
“I work at a garden center as a landscaper, so I’m always doing physical labor,” she explained. “I also love working out, so I was in pretty good shape.”