Don Stevenson and Mark Alleman outside the ALS Association Evergreen Chapter before Stevenson started his walk last year. Contributed photo

Don Stevenson and Mark Alleman outside the ALS Association Evergreen Chapter before Stevenson started his walk last year. Contributed photo

Pacing Parson to walk across Cascades for ALS

He’ll start the 300- mile trek in early May

The Pacing Parson has always been fond of saying he’ll retire when he gets to heaven, but this is the one time he’ll make an exception.

Don Stevenson of Auburn has been doing charity walks around the state and across the country for 20 years to raise awareness and money for various causes.

The charity walk he’s currently embarking on will be his last, he said, in order to work on his various books and take care of his wife, who has spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spaces within your spine) and other health issues.

“That’s why I’m doing the local walk now, so I can check on her, make sure she’s doing OK.,” Stevenson, 82, said.

This walk started March 10, and Stevenson’s goal was to walk 1,000 miles, mostly starting in Auburn and walking to neighboring cities like Enumclaw, Bonney Lake and Sumner every day to rack up some steps.

However, his doctor — who recently recommended installing a pacmaker — said Stevenson should walk no more than 10 miles a day.

Stevenson said he’ll probably stick to that (and slow his average pace of four miles an hour to three — “I’m not in a race. Why should I be killing myself to get this done?”) but he’ll have to do more than 10 miles a day for the big leg of the walk: crossing the Cascades.

On May 6, his wife will drive him east to Spokane, and Stevenson will trek back over the mountains along the 300-mile US-2 route.

Stevenson’s charity cause for this walk is ALS, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig disease.

He walked to raise awareness and funds for ALS research last year as well.

To donate money, Stevenson said to make donations to the ALS Evergreen Chapter at 19226 66th Avenue South, Suite L-105 in Kent. For more information, call 425-656-1650.

Unrelated to this walk, the Pacing Parson is also hoping to start a fundraiser for Mark Alleman, a member of Stevenson’s Bonney Lake Church of the Nazarene where Stevenson is a pastor for seniors.

Alleman was diagnosed with ALS about two years ago, and said he wanted to see the Grand Canyon before the disease eventually takes his life.

Stevenson said he would like to raise about $10,000 to buy a special van and send Alleman on the trip before he becomes completely paralyzed.

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