By Zachary K. Johnson
Record Staff Writer November 24, 2007
STOCKTON - A Placer County man on a spur-of-the-moment trek to Los Angeles to raise money for children's charities passed through San Joaquin County this week.
Mike Brown's journey both began and was conceived Monday at his Granite Bay home, he said. Brown has given money and time to the University of California, Davis, Children's Hospital and Shriners Hospitals for Children in Northern California for years, but when he woke Monday morning, he decided he needed to do something more.
He started walking. And he hopes he can spur others to follow his example.
"It's completely spontaneous. It tells people: Get up and do something," Brown said. "Be creative, or just be simple, like opening up your wallet and taking out a $5 bill."
Brown calls the event the We All Love Kids Charity Tour, because it contains the acronym: WALK.
Brown, 50, kept the name after he staggered into a Wal-Mart in Sacramento, bought a Schwinn and continued on his journey, he said. He describes himself as overweight and out of shape but says his body is getting used to the demands of the road.
Putting together an event like this on the fly means making adjustments, he said. After wandering through unknown vineyards between Lodi and Stockton on Thursday, Brown invested in a compass, he said from a Holiday Inn in Stockton on Friday.
Everyone does love kids, he said. And people are bound to help if they only knew how much these hospitals help burn victims, trauma patients, terminally ill children and other young patients, he said.
So far, Brown has found 39 cents on the ground that will go straight to the hospitals. But others wanting to donate money can go to a Web site set up by Shriners Hospital.
Brown said he first called the hospital about his journey after it began.
He estimates it will take him two weeks to get from Stockton to the office of his Los Angeles company, Apparel Label, which makes labels for clothes.
Brown was excited Friday morning as he checked a map and the Internet in his hotel lobby, looking for the route he planned to follow to Modesto.
A clerk asked him if he was going shopping. It was, after all, the day after Thanksgiving.
"Uh, no," he said. "I'm going for a bike ride."
Contact reporter Zachary K. Johnson at (209) 546-8258 or email@example.com.
How to help
To make a donations to the University of California, Davis, Children's Hospital and Shriners Hospitals for Children in Northern California through the We All Love Kids Charity Tour, visit www.acteva.com/ booking.cfm?bevaID=147509.
To learn about the hospitals, visit their Web sites: www.shrinershq.org and www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/children.