Well I never in all of my days ever thought that I would be writing a letter like this to ALS. Thanks to my Son here it is. My name is Ken Keeler and I live in Chesterfield. I am an exiled Mackem. I have supported SAFC for 49 seasons since I first went to Roker Park and stood in the Roker End on 9th August 1969 (first game of the season) against Coventry and it was 0 - 0. I went to almost all of the 1973 Cup Run including the final. What a day.
I went to every match that season. I was hooked from then on. I first took my eldest son Eric to see Ipswich Town on 7th February 1998 and we had a snow blizzard blow in from the Roker End after just five minutes and they took the players off for a short while until it past. He was hooked.
My son Eric is now busy running across America in aid of his chosen Charity Spinal Research. He is now thirty years old. He has already run 3100 miles in just 157 days and has now heading for the Colorado / Arizona Border and getting his “Kicks on Route 66”. He started in Lubec in Maine on April 29th and hopes to complete his run across America in San Diego in early December. You can visit his Web Site for blogs, photos and news at http://cornertocorner.run/
He is also on Instagram and Twitter. Feel free to check out his progress and also the link on the Tracker that shows you the map and exactly where he is along with Street View.
He is the very first person to run from corner to corner of the USA. Eric has had lots of folk stop him by the roadside and give him Donations for the Charity and snacks and offers of a bed for the night. He is also “couch surfing” and every now and then he treats himself to a Motel Room. This is a story about our fans (that’s real fans like you, me and Eric) and what they get up to.
Eric is currently in Gallup in New Mexico and heading West towards Flagstaff. (October 23rd). He has pushed “Bugster” (that’s his trusty buggy) all the way.
He is a staunch Sunderland supporter but sadly could not get to many matches due to him living abroad. That will change next Season when we will both have Season Tickets and travel up for the home games. The last match I came to with my wife was that special evening when we beat Everton and sent the Mags down. What a match!
This really is a “once in a lifetime” event for us all. Eric worked in Kitzbuhel in Austria for a number of years a ski leader and also in many leading Kitzbuhel Hotels.
He has run the Berlin, Rome, Frankfurt Marathons and the London Marathon twice raising lots of money for Spinal Research. A good friend of his had a bad skiing accident and ended up in a wheelchair with very little hope. Thanks to Spinal Research, within two years she was mobile. Other friends have had bike accidents and the like and Eric decided to choose this charity.
He has spent the last two years planning his epic run. He is visiting places that we have all heard of, New England, Niagara Falls, The Grand Canyon, The Rocky Mountains and down to Los Angeles and southwards to finish in San Diego and home for Christmas.
He also managed to gain access to The Mile-High Stadium, home of the Denver Broncos, but they didn’t give him any Donation.
Any monies raised by Eric and the publicity is not going to him. It is of course for Spinal Research. Eric set off wanting to raise £50,000 and sadly after all of what he has done, he only has about £6,500. He has had his bad days when he almost gave up because of this and thought that no one was actually caring or thinking about him. We all sometimes have days like this, every one of us. If you would like to Donate to Eric’s Charity Cause then simply pop on his web site http://cornertocorner.run/ you can give as little as a fiver.
Sunderland Fans think of others and that’s what Eric has done here with his incredible adventure. Someone who does something “out of the ordinary”. That’s Eric. We all meet folk who we take to straight away, Eric is one of them. The journey that he is making is taking up many months of his life for Charity and is “taking his own personal time for others less fortunate”. He has done this selflessly.
He has a long beard and intends to have this shaved off to raise funds for his chosen Charity Spinal Research when he returns home. He isn’t doing this for himself. Eric simply hopes that this Adventure will highlight the Good that is to be found in real Football Fans and help to promote the new era at our Club. A Club that is now doing Good things after the past years of turmoil. Gosh, we all need some Good stuff in our Club these days.
Haway My Lad!