Medina native plans 500-mile walk in Europe for Knights-Kaderli Fund
Pilgrimage in honor of friend battling cancer
MEDINA – From 5k walks and runs, to wine-tastings, basket raffles and golf tournaments, the Knights and Kaderli families and their supporters have tried many ways to raise money to help Orleans County residents fighting cancer.
How about a 500-mile-walk in Europe?
A Medina native, who now lives in Kansas, will soon embark on a 500-mile journey by foot in northern Spain and France to raise money for Knights-Kaderli.
Tom Dujenski has been planning the walk along the el Camino de Santiago route for about two years. When he learned Elaine McPherson of Medina was battling cancer, Dujenski decided to make the effort a benefit for McPherson and others in Orleans fighting cancer.
Dujenski has been close friends for decades with Elaine’s husband, Paul. He and Elaine have both been long-time participants in the annual Knights-Kaderli walk and run in East Shelby.
“This is a great opportunity to turn something into good,” Dujenski said by phone this afternoon from Olathe, Kansas.
Dujenski, 57, graduated from Medina and then worked in Buffalo before a career with a bank regulatory agency took him all over the country. He settled in Kansas to be near his daughter.
He has been preparing for the long walk, building his stamina and planning the trip.
He flies out to Madrid on Wednesday and starts the walk on Sunday at the base of the Pyrenees Mountains. He is allowing 40 days to cover 500 miles.
Dujenski said the walk will be a spiritual journey for him, a chance to visit sacred sites. He is taking a rock with Elaine’s name on it. Dujenski said there is a stone pile on the trip that has become a shrine. He will add Elaine’s stone to that collection.
He will also go to a shrine in Lourdes, France, and bring back holy water for Elaine.
“I’m so excited it’s not even funny,” Dujenski said today.
His wife, Lupita, will meet him at the end of the journey and they will fly home together.
Elaine McPherson’s family appreciates Dujenski’s effort in the challenging journey and for thinking of Elaine and others fighting cancer.
“She is very grateful,” said Elaine’s sister, Barb Hale.
The Knights-Kaderli Memorial Fund is named in honor of Richard Knights died from cancer in 1984, and Sue Scharping Kaderli who died from the disease in 1989.
Knights-Kaderli distributes about $50,000 annually to help families with expenses while battling cancer.
For more on the fund, and to donate as part of Dujenski’s walk, click here.