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Alumnus Plans to Walk Across America for THON

One Penn State Alumnus, Two Coasts, Seven Months, and 3,100 Miles For The Kids.

Norman Horn, of Phoenixville, Pa., will spend seven months on a 3,100 mile journey this year, with all proceeds donated to THON 2015. He will travel from San Francisco to the Jersey Shore to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer with the goal of raising $250,000.

“I have a deep-down passion for the Four Diamonds Fund,” Horn said. “I am a Penn State alumnus, and I’ve been supportive of THON for 11 years now. Although I was never a dancer, I have been a supporter and spectator for years.”

With a goal in mind of hiking roughly 20 miles per day, Horn will begin on the west coast on April 5. On that day, the Phoenixville School District will host Healthy Kids Day, where the district will coordinate a video presentation of Horn starting his journey. He plans to end up back on the east coast by the end of October.

Sponsored by Pfizer, Horn will backpack through 11 states and 14 major cities, totaling more than 3,100 miles. He’ll be camping in a tent for the majority of the trip, but Horn is also relying on friends, family, Penn State alumni, and complete strangers along the way to volunteer their homes for a place to sleep.

“I’m taking the countryside by storm,” Horn said. “I hope to inspire and make a difference with each person I meet or town I walk through. I realize this is a little bizarre, and it will most certainly be difficult. I’m a realist, but I feel my determination, unwillingness to fail at anything, and my passion for making a difference will out-will any obstacles I face.”

The Phoenixville Food Bank agreed to supply him with freeze dried meals, which will be shipped to predetermined destinations for pickup. For drinking purposes, he’ll have filtering devices, cooking supplies to boil, and iodine to sanitize any water nature provides for him. Horn also plans to ask people and stores along the way for water supplies.

Throughout the journey, Horn’ll visit a series of medical centers and children’s hospitals to spread awareness of pediatric cancer and THON. This will be nothing out of the usual for Horn, who regularly visits children’s centers through the non-profit organization he founded, Coast 2 Coast FTK.

“I’ve been visiting families, Hershey Medical Center, and other various locations to meet and greet everyday people who suffer from a sick child or who have lost a child,” Horn said. “The time and tears that I’ve exhausted preparing for this trip is my number one motivating factor to continue. I have a passion for helping others. In my former career I was a weight-loss specialist and personal trainer thanks to my kinesiology degree from Penn State.”

From all of us at Onward State, we would like to wish Horn luck on his journey. Click here to donate.

About the Author

Jessica Tully

Jessica Tully is a first-year law student at Penn State's Dickinson School of Law. She graduated in May 2014 with degrees in journalism and political science.

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