Photo by Matthew Hall

Pier: Cody O’Connor, a 25-year-old cancer survivor from Cincinnati, Ohio, finished a cross-country walk from New York to Santa Monica on Friday. O’Connor has been walking across the country on a “Walk for Hope” for the past nine months to raise $300,000 for pediatric cancer patients and to shine a light on the ongoing mental and emotional toll that a diagnosis can have on a person and their family. O’Connor kicked off the “Walk for Hope” in New York on June 17 and walked approximately 3,500 miles of the journey averaging around 20-25 miles per day. At age 14, Cody was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma and had to have his right fibula removed. Doctors told him he would never walk normal again. 

“The walk stands for never giving up – no matter what people tell you, always try to take that next step to overcome the odds you are facing,” explains O’Connor.

He said he knows all too well the effects cancer can have on the entire family. Each of his parents were forced to file for bankruptcy, despite working full time in order to continue providing for his six siblings. He is appreciative for the support and help they received throughout the community. While he credits his parents, siblings, and physicians for successfully getting him through his battle, the experience revealed what more needs to be done for families facing cancer.   In 2018, O’Connor founded the non-profit Champions Do Overcome with a mission to provide financial and emotional assistance to families so that they can be with their loved one in the hospital and continue fighting, without the added stress of bills piling up at home.  Several Santa Monica officials met him on the Pier at the end of his trip. 

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Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...