110-mile walk to Wrightsville Beach raises hope for nine-year-old

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Three weeks ago, Buddy Weeks sat in Sunday school at Victory Baptist Church when he heard about nine-year-old Miranda Thomas, battling a rare blood disease. In November, Miranda was diagnosed with severe Aplastic Anemia, which damages bone marrow and blood stem cells causing a deficiency in all of the body’s blood cells. The day Weeks was visiting Victory Baptist, Miranda’s father, Jimmy Smith, spoke of the ups and downs of her medical situation, the constant financial burden, but of ultimately persevering through faith.

“It was as if a bucket of ice water was dumped on me,” Weeks said. “When her father was speaking, I was wondering how my wife and I would feel if we were in that situation. I knew I had to do something.”

Weeks, a 44-year-old Fort Bragg ALC instructor was at work when he devised the idea to walk from Fort Bragg to Wrightsville Beach to raise money and awareness for Miranda.

Monday, July 7 at 7 a.m., Weeks left on foot, while community members followed him with clothes and water. One-hundred and ten miles later, Thursday, July 10 at 11 a.m., he arrived at Johnnie Mercer’s Pier, with blisters on his feet, and more than $1,300 raised toward Miranda’s medical bills.

“It’s a true blessing,” Jimmy Smith said, in a phone interview Thursday. “For somebody that only knows Miranda through the church, and yet goes to the extent that Buddy did, overwhelms Miranda, me, and my wife with joy and appreciation.”

The money will aid the family in paying for a series of bone marrow transplants, which is the next step in Miranda’s treatments.

“You hear about it all the time, and people like this are all around us, but then there will be one, like Miranda, that just hits you because she’s in your own community,” Weeks said Thursday, after reaching the pier. “If you want to help someone, it only takes you five minutes to find someone. I am proud to have done it for her.”

The public can still donate to Miranda Thomas, by logging onto youcaring.com and searching “Walk and Talk Miranda Thomas.”

 

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