Thanks to Joshua Batt, a medical student who reached out during my walk through the mountains of central Pennsylvania, for his thought-provoking blog post regarding our brief encounter outside Breezewood. “What Do You Stand For?” appeared on Medscape Connect, a forum for medical students to share their insights and experiences, good and bad, in order to create a community of support and understanding.
“I’ve traveled more in the last five months than any time before. With interviews and rotations literally from coast to coast, there were endless picturesque sites, fascinating people and lessons to be learned. The road between interviews has plenty to teach. If not by free flowing thoughts in hours of solitude, then by audible or visual stimuli around every corner. One turn in particular caught my attention as motorists sped through the rolling hills of Pennsylvania. On the narrow shoulder to our right, a man walked steadily uphill pushing his belongings in a stroller-converted-porter. A sign affixed to his back had thick black letters that read, “Mikeywalks.com”. He had a purpose, a reason for walking and surely a destined goal ahead. Once I reached the top of the hill, I stopped to refuel and before continuing my journey headed to the website. A one-man adventure across the United States from the West to the East, on foot, one day at a time. He walks in support of a scholarship organization that helps recipients of heart transplants obtain a post-secondary education. Mikey stands for something.
What do I stand for? What do you stand for? What are we doing about it? Proclaiming that we want to “help people” may sound like a reasonable idea, but what are we willing to do to make that difference? The example of a walking stranger was enough to encourage my consideration of what I may or may not be doing. I called him, because offering a ride would defeat his purpose. Applauding his motives and journey through our brief conversation was the least I could do. Looking back, I probably should have bought him dinner. You may not have the opportunity to see him along the roads you travel, but you can follow his efforts on his site, MikeyWalks.com. So thanks Mikey for being an example to us all of what it means to be passionate and stand for something!”