Crossing America for a cause

What would it take for you to walk across the United States?

Most normal people would reply “one million dollars,” or “a lifetime supply of Haagen Dazs ice cream.”

But Tom Beck is not your ordinary guy. The Kent, Wash., native is currently walking across the the country to raise money for diabetes research through a program called Walk USA.

“The purpose of Walk USA is two-fold,” said the 57-year-old diabetes patient. “First is to help raise funds to help find a cure for this terrible disease. Second is to show that those afflicted with diabetes can overcome it and lead healthy, productive and fulfilling lives.”

Beck plans to walk 10 hours per day, six days a week and cover 30-35 miles a day. He and his support crew left Long Beach, Wash., on April 28 and hope to reach Washington D.C. later this summer — a journey of approximately 3,000 miles.

“The most challenging thing was to get everything set up,” said Beck, who is receiving road support from friend Paula Montoure and sponsor Mike Maxwell, who represents

“Without Paula’s help and Mike’s sponsorship, this never would have happened,” Beck said.

Maxwell has provided Beck with various new nutrition products through, but he has also been Beck’s number-one promoter.

“This isn’t just business, it’s also personal,” Maxwell said. “I want to let people know what a great guy Tom is, and what a great cause the American Diabetes Association is. We want people to know he’s out there so they can lend their support when he passes through their town.”

Beck, who used to smoke three packs of cigarettes a day and weighed close to 300 pounds, discovered that he had Type 2 adult diabetes at the age of 39. He said that being diagnosed was a wake-up call because he had seen his mother suffer a slow, painful death from diabetes.

“I finally discovered what a

difference exercise can make to control the disease,” he said. “I hear some diabetics say they can’t exercise, but I’m proving that wrong!

“Exercise and good eating habits are essential to overcoming diabetes, and when this journey is over, I may be able to go off insulin,” he said.

That alone may be motivation enough for most people. But remember, Tom Beck is not “most people.”

“My number-one goal through all of this is building awareness,” he said. “I really want to make a difference in people’s lives — especially those with diabetes. The key is to never give up.”


100 percent of the funds Tom Beck and his support crew raise during Walk USA will go toward diabetes research. To learn more about this amazing journey, visit

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