April 4, 2008 Seventy-five miles for Mom

April 4, 2008

Seventy-five miles for Mom

It is a feat few would attempt: walk 75 miles in only three days, continuously on the move for eight or nine hours each day. And yet earlier this winter, Ethan Gilsdorf did just that.

The road less traveled: Gilsdorf walked to commemorate the anniversary of the death of his mother.

Gilsdorf, a resident of Somerville, Mass., first conceived of his trek as a way to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the death of his mother, Sara, a former MGH patient who was treated at the hospital in 1978 for a brain aneurysm. Complications from the aneurysm ultimately led to her death in 1997. With the MGH as his starting point, Gilsdorf mapped a route to Lee, NH, his mother's hometown and the location of her grave. While he mainly stuck to less traveled and scenic roads, the walk wasn't easy. He had to contend with snowbanks, icy walkways, Boston-area traffic, many blisters and other aches and pains. For Gilsdorf, though, it was worth it. "I wanted the walk to be a meditation," he says. "I was able to slow down my mind and think about my Mom and how she was still in my life. I ended the trip at her gravesite, where I met my brother and sister. It was a lonely road, but my friends and family were incredibly supportive. And Mom was with me."

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