Local News

Dozens hike Pilot Mountain for Make-A-Wish foundation

Posted May 22

— Dozens of people spent their weekend hiking nearly 25 miles up Pilot Mountain to raise money for Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina.

The Sauratown Trail works against hikers. Any step can be on rock or through water, but Shelly Bainter of Raleigh took it on.

“It definitely works a different type of muscle and it is a different type of endurance,” she said.

On the long hike, Bainter faced rain, sunshine and mud but she was inspired by 8-year-old Heath Tuttle, who has walked a harder road.

“I think about, if he can get through what he has been through, then I can run another mile or I can run the next six miles,” she said.

When Tuttle was 9-months-old, his mother Carrie Tuttle took him for a check-up. He was diagnosed with Restrictive Cardio Myopathy, which is a hardening of the heart. Without a transplant, doctors gave him two years to live.

“You feel so helpless,” Carrie Tuttle said. “It feels like your life is turned upside down, that you don’t have any control.”

Heath Tuttle received a heart and recovered, but life is still hard. He is on constant medication and must make regular visits to the doctor.

In the hospital, he watches videos on YouTube and his favorite star is Evan, who has a channel called EvanTubeHD.

“It’s so awesome to watch him,” Heath Tuttle said. “I really wanted to go to LEGOLAND and meet him.”

That is where Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina made a dream come true. On a trip to California last year, Heath Tuttle met Evan.

“It’s really weird to see a YouTube person actually walking in public,” Heath Tuttle said.

After seeing the difference the organization made for Heath Tuttle, Bainter, who is a friend of the family, decided to join the hike to raise money.

“When I hit that wall, I can think about Heath and he really has inspired me to keep going when I wanted to quit,” Bainter said.

At the top of Pilot Mountain, hikers who finished the challenge were not only rewarded with a spectacular view, but with the satisfaction of knowing they raised more than $80,000 for Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina.

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  • Luanne Lane May 23, 11:38 a.m.
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    Awesome weekend!