By Michelle Moore, Staff Writer
Bill Steele, of Baton Rouge, La., walked 300 miles in 17 days with one mission: to show his son Will Steele, 34, who has cancer, how much he loves him and understands his pain.
"I walked from Baton Rouge to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston to inspire my son to take the treatments he needs for his cancer," Bill says.
Around this time last year, Will Steele received a diagnosis of desmoplastic small-round-cell tumor (DSRCT). DSRCT is a form of sarcoma that involves an aggressive and rare, fast-growing tumor. Will is receiving treatment at MD Anderson and this week is set to undergo a 12-hour debulking surgery.
Adds Bill, "We chose MD Anderson because it's the best."
Bill wanted to encourage his son to fight as hard as he could, so that he could be around for his wife and three children as long as possible. In the process, Bill inspired many people along his journey. He keeps an online journal every day where people offer encouraging words and share their personal testimonies.
"I had endless support," Bill says. "I was never hungry. I always had shelter and was always clothed and fed. Keep in mind, many of these people were strangers, yet they would share their stories with me and some would even join me on my walk."
Bill conceived the idea of walking from Baton Rouge to MD Anderson after talking with his son one day, trying to convince him to undergo treatment for his cancer. Will argued that his father couldn't possibly understand how difficult it was going to be -- after all, Will would be the one receiving the treatment. In response, Bill told him he would find something extremely difficult to do in support of him.
There's no doubt that indeed Bill accomplished what he set out to do. After making it to his destination and walking through the doors of MD Anderson with Will and the rest of his family waiting there to greet him, he asked Will if he was inspired.
Will simply smiled and replied, "Yes."
Read Bill's journal