In 2017, Al DeCesaris took on an exciting endeavor in honor of his niece Jenna to raise awareness and funds for Sturge-Weber Syndrome (SWS) research. His 31-day, 555-mile Hiking Camino de Santiago For a Cure journey began in St. Jean Pied-de-Port, France at the base of the Pyrenees Mountains and had him hiking the historic Camino de Santiago across the Iberian Peninsula to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain before reaching his final destination of Cape Finesterre overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Each day of Al’s journey of hope across Spain was dedicated to a different person living with SWS, and led to a greater understanding of SWS, engendered acceptance of those living with the disorder, and raised critical funds for medical research to further the efforts to find a cure.
Starting/ending locations and number of kilometers covered:
Day 1 (8/1/17): St. Jean Pied-de-Port to Roncesvalles [25.1 km] in honor of Jenna from Davidsonville, Maryland
Day 2 (8/2/17): Roncesvalles to Larrasoaña [27.2 km] in honor of África from Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Day 3 (8/3/17): Larrasoaña to Zariquiegui [26.7 km] in honor of Jeremy from Fairbanks, Alaska
Day 4 (8/4/17): Zariquiegui to Villatuerta [30.7 km] in honor of Alejandra from Madrid, Spain
Day 5 (8/5/17): Villatuerta to Torres del Río [31.4 km] in honor of Luke from Wilmington, Delaware
Day 6 (8/6/17): Torres del Río to Logroño [20 km] in honor of Pablo from Logroño, Spain
Day 7 (8/7/17): Logroño to Nájera [28.9 km] in honor of Lizzy from Maryland
Day 8 (8/8/17): Nájera to Grañón [28 km] in honor of Darío from La Coruña, Spain
Day 9 (8/9/17): Grañón to Villafranca de Montes de Oca [27.7 km] in honor of Addisyn from Lathrop, California
Day 10 (8/10/17): Villafranca de Montes de Oca to Castañares [31.3] in honor of Fran from Jaén, Spain
Day 11 (8/11/17): Castañares to Hornillos del Camino [28.7 km] in honor of Connor from Davison, Michigan
Day 12 (8/12/17): Hornillos del Camino to Boadilla del Camino [39.2 km] in honor of Ivet from Tarragona, Spain
Day 13 (8/13/17): Boadilla del Camino to Carrión de los Condes [26 km] in honor of Cindy from Fort Collins, Colorado
Day 14 (8/14/17): Carrión de los Condes to Moratinos [30 km] in honor of Laía from Valencia, Spain
Day 15 (8/15/17): Moratinos to Reliegos [40.8 km] in honor of Jaxon from Los Angeles, California
Day 16 (8/16/17): Reliegos to León [24.3 km] in honor of Leire from Madrid, Spain
Day 17 (8/17/17): León to San Martín del Camino [26 km] in honor of Lola from Merritt Island, Florida
Day 18 (8/18/17): San Martín to Astorga [23.8 km] in honor of Nico from Madrid, Spain
Day 19 (8/19/17): Astorga to Foncebadón [25.9 km] in honor of Anabelle from McLean, Virginia
Day 20 (8/20/17): Foncebadón to Ponferrada [27.1 km] in honor of Jameson from Grafton, Massachusetts
Day 21 (8/21/17): Ponferrada to Trabadelo [34.2 km] in honor of Pía from Madrid, Spain
Day 22 (8/22/17): Trabadelo to Biduedo [32.8 km] in honor of Odri from Madrid, Spain
Day 23 (8/23/17): Biduedo to Barbadelo [30.4 km] in honor of Paul from Towson, Maryland
Day 24 (8/24/17): Barbadelo to Ventas de Narón [29.7 km] in honor of Jesús from Toledo, Spain
Day 25 (8/25/17): Ventas de Narón to Boente [32.2 km] in honor of Arayah from Port St. Lucie, Florida
Day 26 (8/26/17): Boente to Amenal [31.6 km] in honor of Juan from Madrid, Spain
Day 27 (8/27/17): Amenal to Santiago de Compostela [16.5 km] in honor of Liliana from Niceville, Florida
Day 28 (8/28/17): Santiago de Compostela to Negreira [21.9 km] in honor of James from San Antonio, Texas
Day 29 (8/29/17): Negreira to Hospital [38.1 km] in honor of Alma from Segovia, Spain
Day 30 (8/30/17): Hospital to Muxía [27.5 km] in honor of Álex from Lugo, Spain
Day 31 (8/31/17): Muxía to Finisterre [32.2 km] in honor of Rylie from California and Sofía from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain
TOTAL NUMBER OF KILOMETERS COVERED: 895.9
What is the total number of miles Al hiked?
555 milesAverage number of miles per day: 18 miles
Most miles hiked in one day: 25 miles
Least miles hiked in one day: 10.25 miles
How many days was Al on the Camino de Santiago?
31 daysTotal of number of days: 31 days
Number of hiking days: 31 days
Number of days off: 0 days
What did Al eat during his journey?
Lots and lots of foodAl’s daily menu typically consisted of tortilla de patata, croissants, café con leche for breakfast, bocadillos with jamón for lunch, almonds, bananas, apples, wild berries, cookies, for dinner the pilgrim’s menu (3 course meal served in most places along the Camino), aquarius, cañas, vino, chocolate, ice cream.
How many people did Al hike in honor of?
31Al hiked in honor of a different person living with Sturge-Weber Syndrome each day of his 31 day journey.
How many friends joined Al on the Camino de Santiago?
8 Guest HikersMary Ostrowski, Riho Saisho, Humberto Sánchez and his son Humberto, Venancio and his son Rubén, Seila Iglesias Merino and her daughter Irene.
What did Al carry in his backpack?
The essentials and then some...Al carried t-shirts, shorts, pants, fleece, socks, underwear, bath towel, toiletries, Pilgrim’s passport, sleeping bag, survival kit, rain coat, GoPro gear. On the outside of his pack, he carried water bottles, hiking poles, and a scallop shell.
Where did Al stay during his journey?
Albergues, casas rurales, hotels, and with friends Al stayed in albergues (dormitory-style accommodations where you can rent a bed for the night), Casas Rurales (houses where you can rent a private room for the night), and hotels. Al also stayed with the family of Pablo for two nights while passing through Logroño.
How people living with Sturge-Weber did Al meet through his journey?
3Al met Pablo in Logroño, Dario in Santiago de Compostela, and Odri upon his return to Madrid.
How many provinces in Spain did Al hike through?
7 provincesThe provinces Al hiked through are Navarra, La Rioja, Burgos, Palencia, León, Lugo, and La Coruña. Al also hiked through part of France.
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