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  • Fairbury News staff

Troutman reaches Fairbury

Dean Troutman, left, visits with (l to r) Lynn Barnett, Aubrey Atkins and Charlie Atkins along First Street Thursday.

Dean Troutman’s 3,500-mile quest to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is taking the Princeville man through several area towns this week.

Troutman traveled through the U.S. Highway 24 towns of Gridley, Chenoa and Fairbury as he continues eastward. While he has done other walks, this is his largest one so far.

“This is my final walk,” Troutman admits. “It is going to take me at least a year to make the circle. I’ll just go as long as my 90-year-old legs will carry me.”

Troutman plans to travel out east to North Carolina before heading south to spend Christmas in Florida and over to the Houston, Texas area next February to see his sister. He will then swing back up through Arkansas and Missouri before coming back home from the west.

“It’ll take me a full year, that’s for sure – and maybe more.”

While he has never had any direct family connection to St. Jude, Troutman has walked from Princeville down to Memphis and toured the research hospital.

“There’s no better charity out there to help these kids,” he said.

At the age of 84, Troutman started walking although he has always been in good physical shape. He lost his wife several years ago and just needed something to do so he turned to the most common form of exercise.

While walking along the highway, Troutman could be seen pushing a small storage compartment on wheels. It is actually a pet carrier used to tie behind a bicycle in order to haul a dog. The front hitch was removed and a swivel wheel was installed along with a handle on the back so it can be pushed easily. This is Troutman’s second carrier as the first one was hit by a pickup truck. He can carry approximately 75 pounds of survival gear.

In 2014, Troutman walked 700 miles around Illinois to raise money for Troutman Park, established in memory of his late wife, Dorothy (Peggy) Troutman. He successfully raised $70,000 to install a playground for families to enjoy. A year later, he raised $10,000 for the children of St. Jude by walking 500 miles from Princeville to Tennessee.

“I’ll go as far as these legs will take me or until the donations stop, one or the other,” Troutman added.

Pledges can be made directly to St. Jude through Dean’s fundraising page at Donations can also be mailed to St. Jude Challenge, Troutman Trek 4, Attention: Alex Fountain, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105. Checks should be made out to St. Jude.

More information can be found on

Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the childhood cancer survival rate from 20 to 80 percent. The hospital freely shares discoveries it makes, which means more children being saved by doctors and scientists around the world.

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