Bound for Boston

Posted on April 2nd in News

Journey expected to take seven months

 by Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

Anna Harrington passed through Burns on her walk east to raise awareness for Shriners hospitals. (Photo by RANDY PARKS)

Anna Harrington passed through Burns on her walk east to raise awareness for Shriners hospitals. (Photo by RANDY PARKS)

On March 1, Anna Harrington was in Astoria, which is where she took the first step of her journey that will end in Boston, Mass., in, presumably, seven months time.

Harrington’s walk across the country is to raise awareness for Shriners Hospitals for Children, and she “officially” arrived in Burns Saturday, March 29.

Harrington, 42, said her first experience with Shriners Hospitals was in 2005, when her nephew received treatment for scoliosis, or curvature of the spine, at the hospital in Sacramento, Calif. While at the Sacramento site, Harrington met other families whose lives had been impacted by the medical care at the hospital.

Then, just a few years ago, Harrington heard that there was the possibility of some Shriners hospitals closing because of a shrinking endowment, and she made the decision to walk across America to help them out.

Growing up in Tucson, Ariz., Harrington had a dream of walking across the country for an important cause, and making the trip to benefit Shriners hospitals was a good fit.

“While in Sacramento, I saw the wonderful things they do,” she said.

Harrington’s plan is to visit a number of Shriners hospitals across the country, and her first visit was to the hospital in Portland. From the Rose City, she trekked up Mount Hood, dropped down into Madras, and followed Highway 20 into Burns. Harrington, who now lives in Meridian, Idaho, said her route will take her to Salt Lake City, Utah, where she will visit another hospital, and eastward from there, passing through a total of 14 states.

Harrington is pushing a cart that carries the essentials for the trip, including a tent, sleeping gear, food, water and clothing. She plans to try walking 20 miles each day, and noted that, so far, she has been impressed by the beauty of the ever-changing terrain.

Walking alone along busy highways could be daunting, but Harrington is finding a lot of help along the way. She said people have invited her in to spend the night, motels have donated rooms, motorists have checked on her along the way, and businesses have donated tires for her buggy, and a cell phone and charger.

“Cars on the highway are the scariest,” she said.

When asked about obstacles she might encounter, Harrington answered, “You don’t know how to prepare for everything. There’s always a fear of the unknown, but you can’t let that fear dictate your actions. It’s scary out there sometimes, but it’s also exciting, and the reward outweighs the fear.”

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