Raleigh man 'Hikes for Hope' after losing daughter to leukemia

Posted April 21, 2011 4:02 p.m. EDT
Updated April 22, 2011 10:12 p.m. EDT

— A Raleigh man whose daughter died of leukemia is hiking the length of the Appalachian Trail to raise money for research into the disease.

Jeff Simpson left in early March to walk 700 miles from Georgia through Tennessee and South and North Carolina to Daleville, Va.

This year's trip is the second stage in his goal to hike the 2,175-mile-long Appalachian Trail in a "Hike for Hope" fund raiser.

Simpson wants to raise $20,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, St. Baldrick’s Foundation and Make A Wish Foundation.

"I have done my share of winter backpacking over the years and thought hiking the Appalachian Trail would be a good way to symbolize the struggles my daughter faced in her battle with cancer," Simpson wrote in his blog.

Simpson's daughter, Rebecca, was diagnosed with leukemia at age 13. She died of the disease four years later.

Simpson said he also wants to honor his other daughter, who watched her sister slip away.

"This hike’s foundation is the strength and courage my two daughters — and others we met along the way — exhibited in facing the unknowns of this disease," Simpson wrote.