By Julie Wiessner
The pathway back from heartaches and pain may seem daunting, but it is important to begin.
Flynn Donoho, 54, has experienced a lot of personal tragedy, turmoil and loss in his life, but now has figured out a way to heal.
“It seemed like everything went wrong and happened all at once. Friends and family began dying of cancer, one after the other. I was drinking and lost the relationships with my wife and two children, and became homeless. I went through a really hard, difficult time,” he recalled.
“Then, about seven and a half years ago, I became a Christian. My life since then has begun to turn around. I began to think of what I could do to help cancer patients. I decided to bicycle across America to raise money for cancer research.”
He speaks at churches, giving his testimony about experiences of heartache and tragedy, but focuses on how he is doing better now than he was, and how being on the road helps him to heal.
“The people in Holbrook are really nice, I have received food donations from different charitable organizations and have found places to sleep,” he said.
Donoho hopes to one day see his 10-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl.
He has told his story in 51 newspapers and on more than 20 TV channels across America. He recalled being in Times Square, New York City while on this trip, noting, “A lot of big screens had been placed on the sides of buildings and I saw a lady who was looking to take a picture of something and did. As I kept watching, the lady pulled out a Polaroid picture from the camera and placed it up on the screen and it just so happened to be me, all big and huge!”
He has bicycled through 39 states, and has logged close to 16,000 miles.
“I have almost gone around the perimeter of the United States. I still have Wyoming, South Dakota, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont and Connecticut left to do,” he said.
Traveling with Donoho is a red, mixed breed dog called Diva, who goes everywhere with him.
Since beginning his bicycling adventure he has heard some good news: his sister-in-law is now a three-year cancer survivor.
Once he has finished his goal of bicycling to every state in the continental United States, he plans to turn the bicycle in and instead hike specific U.S. trails.
The trails he plans to hike are the Appalachian Trail at the beginning of summer, the Continental Divide and finally the Pacific Crest Trail.
The goal Donoho has set is to first raise $1,000 by bicycling across America, then he will set another goal, with both to be donated directly to the American Cancer Society. So far he has raised $935, just $65 away from his goal.
If you would like to make a donation under Donoho’s name, please go online to teamacs.acsevents.org and click on the Donate button in the upper left corner. A screen will appear that asks for first and last name of participant. Enter “Flynn Donoho” and click “Donate Now.”
By Julie Wiessner