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Northwest Salmon



College students walk coast to coast for awareness campaign

by Amanda Fanger
While zipping along U.S. Hwy 12 at 70 miles an hour in a vehicle, some things are missed or go unnoticed. For Alexander “Zan” Roman and Cameron Coupe, walking provides them the opportunity to slow down along those routes.
“You see everything,” Roman said. Coupe and Roman, both 19, are walking the entire way from Seattle, WA to New York City.
Partly because they wanted to and partly because they’re raising funds for Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Foundation.
They left from the Seattle Children’s parking lot May 18 and hope to finish their journey by October.
The guys made an overnight stop in Webster July 16.
Any proceeds they raise during the trip will go towards autism awareness and to help patients with cancer. Both causes are quite personal to Roman and Coupe.
Roman’s brother has autism and a cousin of Coupe’s died from cancer at a young age.
The original plan once they hit Webster was to sleep in their tent in Pastor Daniel and Kristin Ostercamp’s back yard. However, when Junior Pereboom saw them walking along Hwy 12, he offered them a room to stay in at Boomers – free of charge.
During most of the journey, they end up staying wherever they can pitch a tent – which is sometimes a city park or a random person’s yard and, occasionally, along the side of the road. To find that place to stay, they’ll call ahead to the sheriff’s office.
But their stay in Webster was orchestrated by Roman’s pastor who knew Pastor Ostercamp from school.
The two college students arrived in Webster mid-afternoon on Wednesday. In addition to a room, Pereboom fed them a meal at the restaurant. Ostercamp gave Coupe a ride to the post office to pick up a care package his mom had sent general delivery. It contained new inner tubes for their carts, which are enclosed jogging strollers. The front tires had gone flat some miles back.
“These are like gold – I’m so stoked!” Coupe said.
The idea for this cross country walking trip started when the two met during their first semester of college at Washington State University. They had not known each other before becoming roommates, each other’s hometowns being about 80 miles apart.
Within one night of mentioning the idea of walking all the way to New York, the two had the trip roughly planned out.
“We basically just needed the gear,” Roman said.
Their trip is funded primarily on leftover money they’d saved from summer jobs the year before, about $1,500.
“We try to budget about $5-$10 a day for food,” Roman said.
They try to carry about five days worth of food with them at a time. Also in their carts is clothing, water, sleeping gear including a tent.
On a typical day, they’ll set out by 8-9 a.m. and aim to walk about 24 miles. They finish walking for the day anywhere between 3-8 p.m.
Prior to this trip, Coupe said, “I’d never walked 20 miles in a day in my life!”
Both were athletes in high school, primarily in the sport of soccer.
“Yeah, it was a bummer that the year of the World Cup that we were nowhere near a TV,” Coupe said with a laugh.
To occupy their minds while walking, they listen to Harry Potter audio books and talk – sometimes the conversations being pretty random, they said.
“Actually, it can get pretty boring at times,” Coupe said. When the traffic is heavy, they can’t hear anything over the noise of passing vehicles.
They’ll have covered roughly 2,863 miles once they reach New York.
And they don’t plan to walk back. They’re intending to fly instead.
Each is using this time to think of their futures and decide what they want to do with the rest of their lives. Roman is leaning towards pursuing elementary education and Coupe is toying with the idea of graphic design.
While in town, Pastor Ostercamp took them to the city pool to relax.
According to Roman, while checking out the South Dakota landscape is nice, “It gets a little repetitive. But it’s big sky, that’s for sure.”
To keep up with their journey, see their Facebook page at “Walk For Seattle Childrens” or visit their website at

Fiksdal Funeral Home

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