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From Disney to Disney: Family Walks 4,000 Miles to Honor Late Daughter

The Cobb Family/Facebook

Julia Cobb/Facebook

The Short of It

A family has walked for 320 days and 4,000 miles, from Disney Land in California to Disney World in Florida, to honor the life of their daughter and sister who died of cancer at just 8 years old.

The Lowdown

Julia Cobb died in 2013 from Ewing's sarcoma after a memorable Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World.

"We decided to walk from Disney Land to Disney World because that's where we had our last great memories of Julia," Jennifer Cobb told "We very much miss our daughter every day. But in the midst of our grief, we said, 'What's the best way to get through this? To help other people.' If we walked 4,000 miles and only impacted one person, then it's still worth it."

The Cobbs didn't have many sponsors along their journey, but nonetheless, hoped to raise awareness about the pediatric cancer that took little Julia's life. The kindness of strangers propelled them on their march across the country, including comped meals and lodging. The nearly year-long trek was about more than raising awareness, though; the family wanted to pay tribute to Julia.

Along their 10-month journey, they faced challenges like 120 degree desert temperatures and the death of their beloved family dog, but that didn't stop them from walking an average of 20 to 25 miles per day, clad in bright yellow T-shirts. Parents Jennifer and Jonathan took turns driving supplies along the route, and Julia's home-schooled siblings, ages 11 and 13, took study breaks along the way, but even their 4-year-old walked about 1 mile each day.

The Upshot

Having just spent time in Disney World and creating wonderful memories with my family, this story really touched me.

You can help the fight against pediatric cancer on the JuCan Foundation's site, which was set up by the Cobbs. The name of the foundation is a nod to a mantra Julia used to repeat, which was taken from the first two letters of her name and the first three letters of the disease that took her life.

"She'd see someone pushing an IV pole with 10 bags of chemo hanging from it, and say, 'I just want to tell you that JuCan. This big message out of a tiny little body," says Cobb.

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