Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Thomas Garcia
Staff writer 

Cancer survivor crossing

Kevin Fern makes trek across country for cause.


June 27, 2018

Thomas Garcia

With the IV stand at his side, Kevin Fern walks along Main Street Monday in Tucumcari as part of his cross-country journey for cancer awareness.

A cancer survivor crossing the country with a unique homage will depart Tucumcari today en route to Boston to raise awareness and money for child cancer and oncology camps.

"I'm walking from California to Boston with an IV (intravenous) stand symbolizing a burden that all cancer patients, survivors have bore," said Kevin Fern.

Fern, a 30 year childhood cancer survivor, said he knows the burden, struggle that comes with the IV during cancer treatment. He said the technology has advanced over the years, but as a child fighting Hodgkin Lymphoma, the pain from the chemotherapy drip impacted him greatly.

"I hated the IV stand; I associated the stand and the chemo with being sick," Fern said. "Traveling across the country with this symbol is my way of carrying the burden for those children who are currently being treated for cancer. So began the journey of Kevin's IV Pole"

Fern said while in Arizona, a 17-year old cancer survivor and his mother met him on the road and wanted to join him for a portion of his walk. He said the teen had lost part of his leg as a result of amputation for treatment of osteosarcoma.

"He was on crutches and bound and determined to walk with me," Fern said. "It is responses like this that lets me know I am doing a good thing."

Fern said as he travels the more than 2,600 mile venture, he plans to visit the oncology camps along the way. He said he is already carrying wrist bands with the names of patients that hang from the IV stand.

"I'm doing this for them, I'm taking this object that I have come to despise and using it to inspire and help others," Fern said.

Fern said the funds he generates through donations will be used for grants to help fund the 188 camps across the country.

"These camps offer the children being treated an opportunity to be a kid and enjoy time with their family," Fern said. "As a child cancer patient I attend such a camp in Pennsylvania. The impact these camps can have one a patient and their family is immense."

Fern said these camps do not have a set funding source, most of them seeking grants, donations to operate. He said it is vital these camps continue to operate for the children and their families.

With more than 1,000 miles down, the journey Fern is taking is being carefully planned and coordinated by his wife Carol Fern.

Carol, who follows Fern in an RV, said there have been a lot of ups and downs since the journey began on March 25, at the Manhattan Beach Peir, in Manhattan Beach, California.

"We are in need of a repair on the RV and that is going to set us back a day," Carol said. "While approaching Tucumcari on Sunday, we were very attentive to the thunderstorms to the north."

Fern said there has also been some repairs done to the IV stand along the way. He said one set of wheels had to be replaced with the center rod and base have also been replaced.

"I certainly don't want to get caught out in a lightning storm with the stand," Fern said. "Thanks to the extra parts and wheels donated by a company in California the stand is still together."

Fern said he hopes by early November he will reach his destination at the Boston Children's Hospital in Boston. He said he looks forward to meeting more survivors and people on the journey that will now take him on US Highway 54 into Oklahoma.

"I had a gentleman stop and visit with me on Interstate 40 outside of Tucumcari," Fern said. "He gave me what he could and what he said I'll never forget: It's not much, but now I am a part of what you are doing."

Fern said while he continues to walk, he hopes to inspire more people to make a difference and to have an impact on the children and families battling cancer.

To learn more about Kevin and his journey visit http://www.kevinsivpole.com


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