Stacie Eichinger, 29, Tucson, has walked more than 3,000 miles to raise money and awareness for "Beads of Courage." Photo by D. Yost

Stacie Eichinger, 29, Tucson, has walked more than 3,000 miles to raise money and awareness for “Beads of Courage.” Photo by D. Yost

By Dianne Lively Yost, Staff Writer

Eight and a half months ago her journey began. To be exact it was May 8 in a place on the Pacific coast called Ocean Shores, Wash.

There was no car, no train, no plane, no one accompanying her — only a small cart with supplies and gear. Three thousand eight-hundred miles stretched out ahead of her.

That was where she took her first step. Stacie Eichinger of Tucson, is only 29 but she’s one of those old souls. Fearlessly positive might be a good description because she savors adventure with a smile.

“I live to travel,” she says. “I’m very gypsy.”

Her journey brought her to Morgan County this week as she walks the final legs of her 4,000-mile-quest to raise money for a non-profit organization called Beads of Courage (www.beadsofcourage.com), a group that provides innovative, arts-in-medicine supportive care programs for children coping with serious illness, their families and the health care providers who care for them.

So far she has raised an impressive $20,200 for this charity that captured her heart and her passion – enough so to cross the great United States of America on foot with a cart she designed and built herself.

Along her unique journey, Eichinger has stayed with old and new friends but also has camped up in ditches and cattle underpasses as she continued on through sun, rain, snow – you name it. “I didn’t skimp on clothing,” she explained.

This Monday, she stopped at Amelia’s on Main Street in downtown Madison for a rest. Madisonians Kim and Rob Watts hosted Eichinger at their home and arranged for some local pampering for Stacie. Eichinger is expected to complete her journey in Savannah on Feb. 1. To donate or follow her on her journey, visit www.walk4courage.com”