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Hikers cross Monett to fight cancer

Friday, May 4, 2012

(Photo)
Five co-workers from Denali National Park in Alaska walking to Chicago, Ill., from Arizona passed through Monett on Tuesday. They are walking to raise money for the fight against cancer and hopefully help the Chicago Cubs break their World Series jinx. Shown, from left, are: P.J. Fisher, Kyle Townsend, Philip Aldrich, Matt Gregory with Wrigley the goat, who is named for the Cubs' homefield, and Blake Ferrell. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff] [Order this photo]
By Murray Bishoff

Five co-workers from Alaska passed through Monett on Tuesday on their way from Mesa, Ariz., to Chicago, Ill., as part of a fundraising effort to fight cancer.

Matt Gregory, Philip Aldrich, Blake Ferrell, P.J. Fisher and Kyle Townsend headed through Monett during the noon hour on Tuesday after spending the night at the Shoal Creek Baptist Church. They walked on Highway 60 pushing an enclosed stroller containing Wrigley, the goat.

The quintet is raising money for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Wash. They come from Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Michigan and Tennessee, working together in Denali Park, Alaska.

Gregory previously undertook a 500-mile walk, then did a 200-mile walk with the goat. The group talked about ways they could make a contribution and came up with the idea to walk to Chicago with the goat as a fundraiser. They began their walk from Mesa, Ariz., on Feb. 25.

The goat provides a conversation starter, centered around the 1945 "Curse of the Goat" on the Chicago Cubs, said Gregory. According to the story, Billy Sianis, a 1945 Chicago Cubs season ticket holder and owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, took his goat to the ballpark for a World Series game and was thrown out because of the animal's odor. Sianis declared the Cubs would never win a World Series until they learned to "respect the goat," and haven't ever since.

"We want to inspire people to donate," said Gregory. "The goat helps start conversations with people."

All five are Cubs fans and also hope their efforts could break the team's jinx.

The quintet has a website, www.crackthecurse.com, where people they meet can donate. To date, the quintet has raised around $7,000, including $2,800 from the Cubs owner, Tom Ricketts.



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