Courtnay Midkiff, or The Smacman to his friends and peers, has been walking since March (yes, MARCH) in every single weather condition known to man (snow, rain, hail and blazing desert sun?!?!) to raise awareness for Fabry disease.
Before I became aware of The Fabrys Walkabout, I had no idea that such a condition even existed. I followed Smac’s progress and found myself becoming more and more emotional with each milestone achieved (cried actual tears on multiple occasions). The more he walked, the more people began to take notice. I asked The Smacman (23 from Virginia) if he’d mind sharing some more about his 5 month long hike across America.
What is Fabry Disease?
Fabry disease is a rare genetic disease linked to the X chromosome. It is a lack of an enzyme in the body that causes a number of problems from fatigue, GI issues, and burning in the fingers and toes all the way to very serious and even fatal problems like heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure. Roughly 117,000 people in the US have the disease.
What inspired you to walk across the country?
Originally I was going to do it with 3 friends. I thought up the idea and just thought that walking across the US would be a cool adventure. When all of them decided they couldn’t do it, I decided to do it for something that hits home for me. So I’m doing it to raise Fabry awareness as well as raise funds for the National Fabry Disease Foundation.
How long have you been walking?
I have been walking for 4.5 months now. Over 2000 miles starting in Virginia Beach and ending in Southern California. Atlantic to the pacific.
You’ve received a lot of support from the hardcore community, local new stations and various forms of media – how does that feel?
Feels so awesome to have support of my friends and complete strangers. Any time that I feel bummed or ready to go home I have a huge support group pushing me to the finish line.
What has been your highest point and your lowest point?
Highest point was probably finding a waterfall in Tennessee. Or seeing Hatebreed donate. Lowest point was coming out of Lubbock (Texas). I got sick and it took me almost a week to recover. No fun being that far away from home and being out of it.
What will you do once it’s over?
Never walk again for the rest of my life. Lay on a beach for a month. Chill with my family and friends.
Anyone you want to shout out?
RVCA, macs smacks, all my friends cheering me on, my family, anybody who has donated, and all the other Fabry patients that I have had the opportunity to meet.
With around 3 weeks left to go, Courtnay has just reached California. On his journey, he has met numerous other people with Fabry disease, made friends for life and accomplished what some might deem as unfathomable. Keep up with The Fabry Walkabout on instagram and tumblr. You also can make donations to the National Fabry Disease Foundation here and buy a shirt here. I love it when people do cool shit. Keep on keepin on Smac!