Her soles are where her soul is

I read a story a few weeks ago about an Ashland widow who pledged to take 50 daily hikes in an effort to raise money for a nonprofit counseling organization that helps kids when a parent has a serious or terminal illness. How is she doing? I think her walking fundraiser is great for her and for the kids. I want to donate, but I can't find a link to the original story. Can you please help me?

— Lindy A., Applegate

We at the Since You Asked International Headquarters of Where's Ginny Auer can walk you through this widow's hike-athon, Lindy.

But first here's a little backstory for those who may have missed a leg or two of this journey. Auer and her 8-year-old dynamo daughter, Tess Hemmerling, returned from a cross-country trek in honor of Ginny's husband and Tess' father, Troy Hemmerling, who, after a courageous 16-month struggle, lost his battle with a rare form of cancer on April 21, 2011.

Before Troy died, he wrote Ginny a letter and placed it inside a card. He signed it, "LIVE HUGE, Troy." And so they did. All summer long. But now they are back home.

Auer decided to do some good for kids such as Tess by raising money to help Kids Konnected — a national organization founded on the premise that when a parent gets cancer, the entire family is affected, especially the children.

She also is continuing to honor Troy while walking off a little extra padding she said she added while the pair ate their way across the country.

"This would have been Troy's 50th year on the planet. To commemorate that, I am going to do a hike a day for 50 days," Auer wrote on the Live Huge Facebook page (www.facebook.com/#!/livehugeTroy).

True to her word, Auer has put her soles where her soul is. So have Tess and a bevy of two- and four-legged friends. Auer trotted off on her 20th hike Monday and reports that she is more than 5 pounds lighter for the efforts.

Auer's hikes have consisted of anywhere from one to 14 miles on local trails. She's called her fundraiser a Widow's Walk.

People can donate one dollar a hike, a quarter a hike, whatever they can spare, Auer said. She said she could use more sponsors to keep her motivated and help out the children receiving counseling services through Kids Konnected.

If you want to donate, Lindy, visit Auer's page at www.crowdrise.com/ww50in50/fundraiser/ginnyauer1. Or you can mail or drop off a check for Kids Konnected to United Way of Jackson County, 769 Spring St., Medford, OR 97504.

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