A group of Central Massachusetts business owners are off on a 100-mile ruck march across Worcester County.
So far they’ve raised about $58,000 for Why Me & Sherry's House. The group is camping at three local breweries, where they will continue raising money.
“We wanted to just figure out a way to be able to help them. So we came up with a ruck march," Rick Porter, organizer of the ruck march and president at Cinch I.T. "I'm an ex-military guy so rucking and hiking is something that's fun, something enjoyable, something that's extremely challenging."
The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges at Why Me and Sherry’s House, too. The nonprofit which helps kids with cancer and their families, had to cancel their in-person fundraisers.
“It means the world to us that they're willing to do this for us," Rebecca Kuczarski, fundraising manager of Why Me & Sherry's House, said.
Kuczaraki received help from Why Me when her daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. Sophia died in 2012. Donations support families and help them pay bills.
“Anything like that, it just takes one stress off the parent when they already have so many stresses going on," Kuczaraki said.
Porter's company works with the nonprofit.
"When I've heard the stories of the families, it's tough. It's tough to hear," Porter said. "So you know if I can give my time and effort to anything, it would definitely be for families of children cancer for sure."
About 15 business owners and entrepreneurs stepped up to be a part of the challenge. They’re hopeful everyone will finish, but even the experienced ruckers say walking 100 miles with a backpack is far from easy.
"You come out with best intentions and try to take care of your body, or take care of your feet. Hydrate, electrolytes, things like that," said Mike Covino, president of Niche Hospitality. "So more of a kind of a slow wear you down thing, so we're confident that we'll be there at the end on Sunday."
“You got some trails, you got some concrete, and concrete beats up your feet. So, it's a very difficult 25 miles a day. Then you got to camp out, cook your own food. Your self supported, everything you need is in your ruck," Porter said. “If we're gonna spend four days raising money, you want to do something that's challenging and and pushes us and gets us uncomfortable."
The ruckers say the discomfort is all worth it though, because they’re helping comfort families who have gone through so much already.