POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 - 1:12pm
UPDATED: Monday, July 18, 2011 - 5:25pm
BATON ROUGE, La (NBC33) — A local father’s journey to inspire his son, turned into something much bigger. In March, 59-year-old, Bill Steele, walked all the way from Baton Rouge to Houston in less than 20 days. It was a trip made to support his son’s battle with a rare form of cancer.
“No one has ever survived that cancer,” Steele says. “I did this to fire my son up because he’s always been an athlete and I knew this was going to be a task.”
Steele took on the task to motivate his son, but by the end of his voyage, he found inspiration of his own.
“On my entire trip, I met one man who told me he had not had an experience with cancer,” Steele says. “One man out of hundreds and hundreds.”
Steele relied on the kindness of strangers, people who took him in for the night, a nd shared stories of their own struggles with cancer.
“Listening to these people, you begin to understand how everyone is affected by this and they all want to tell their story,” he says. “They’re empowered when they can tell their story.”
The response to Steele’s adventure was overwhelming, particularly from his son, Will. “He’s a very stoic person. He doesn’t show emotion much, but he followed it the whole way,” says Steele. “It made him feel stronger.”
Steele arrived at M.D. Anderson in Houston just in time for his son’s surgery. Doctors removed 248 tumors from Will’s body.
“They removed every organ in his body, cut cancer off of it, and then put it back in,” he says. “It took 19 hours. They beat him up pretty well.”
Today, Will is cancer-free. While the road to recovery could be long and rocky, Steele is confident his son has the strength to win this fight. “Somebody has to beat it. Sooner or later, somebody has to beat it. He’s going to be it.”
Take a look at Steele’s journey on his website at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/walktoinspire