Jonathan Maidment wasn't much of a hiker.
“I was always the slow guy,” said Maidment. “The guy that everyone had to wait for.”
But years ago back in Boy Scout Troop 25, he made a declaration.
“I said, you know what, some day I’m going to do the entire Appalachian Trail” said Maidment. And so he did.
The Appalachian Trail in 2014 turned into the Pacific Crest Trail in 2019 and then the Continental Divide Trail in 2020. More than 8,000 miles for a rare feat: the hiking “Triple Crown."
“You can either hike one out of three or three out of three,” said Maidment. “So I knew that if I did the Pacific Crest Trail, I would have to do the Continental Divide Trail.”
Along the way, Maidment documented his journey that spanned six years, 610 days, through 22 states and two airlift trips to the hospital. He hiked with friends and he hiked with strangers, but every day he hiked with those who wouldn't ever get to do it themselves.
“I love bringing their names with me,” said Maidment. “I love bringing the people with me, but I hate adding them to the flag.”
Maidment set off on his journey hiking for the Alpha-1 Foundation.The flag in tow marked with names of people who had died from the rare genetic disease. Names of people Maidment could relate to: his grandmother was an alpha and so is he.
“In 2006, she unfortunately passed away from it,” said Maidment of his grandmother.
Maidment doesn't know if or when Alpha-1 will affect him, it causes lung or liver disease, but every step of his journey a step forward in the search for a cure.
“It means a lot because the people who I meet they actually look up Alpha-1 and they donate to the cause and they tell their friends and family,” said Maidment.
Thousands of miles became thousands of dollars. When he reached the end, he had raised $250,000 for the Alpha-1 Foundation. Thousands of dollars for his chance to keep his own journey going.
“Living my life,” said Maidment, “before I might not be able to.”
You can find out more about Maidment’s Hiking for a Cure here.
And learn more about Alpha-1 and how to donate here.