Try and Walk a Mile in Norris’ Shoes

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Eric Norris, on left, with other Relay for Life participants, is shown on lap 108. He went on to complete 174 laps, walking for the entire 24-hour event. (Photo By Ross A. Benson)

At the Relay for Life held this past weekend at Johnny Carson Park, participating team member take turns walking the quarter-mile path around the park to raise awareness and money to fight cancer.  One participant went a little farther.

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Eric Norris, 44, decided he was going to try and walk the entire 24 hours of the event.  Walking long distances isn’t new to Norris, who walked 40 miles on his 40th birthday just four years ago to raise money for Outward Bound.  You can check that out at http://40at40walk.blogspot.com/

Once he even walked from his home in Burbank up Olive Avenue to Wildwood Canyon, then on to the top of the Verdugo Mountains, before descending into Montrose and continuing on to the Rose Bowl. There he joined in a three-mile walk to raise money for Autism.  That day he covered 21 miles and climbed over 2,500 feet.

The Relay for Life pathway at Johnny Carson Park was a little more level than climbing over the Verdugo Mountains, but no less a challenge for Norris.  He kept walking throughout the event, and managed to complete 174 laps for a total of 45 miles.

Photo By Ross A. Benson

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What’s probably more amazing is that Norris is a cancer survivor.  He was diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago.  According to his wife, Carol, he received the news on April 13, 2007.  “It was Friday the 13th,” she noted. “

His cancer treatments consisted of six weeks of radiation followed by six months of chemotherapy.  Then came surgery, followed by another 4 ½ months of more chemotherapy.   Despite all this, Norris kept a positive attitude.  During the year of treatment, he sent emails to family and friends to keep them updated.  Through it all, he kept a positive attitude.

When I joined Norris for a lap around the park on Saturday evening, he was approaching the half-way mark of the relay.  The Emmy-winning sound editor still maintains his positive attitude.

“Cancer brought out the best in all of us,” said Norris, who was walking in memory of a friend’s wife, Joanne Dorn, who died recently from cancer. She was diagnosed at the same time Norris was.

The Relay for Life seems to be bringing out the best not only in Norris, but in his fellow team members from the two teams called “Meet The Walkers”. They raised close to $13,000, from sponsorship donations .  Norris personally raise $3,470.

“I was happy to raise that much money,” said Norris, adding, “I’ve never walked that long.”   The 45 miles he walked at the relay was his career best.

When the event finally ended Sunday morning as rain fell on the walkers, Norris walked the half mile to his home.

Photo By Ross A. Benson