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First American Woman Walks Around the World

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Updated July 28, 2004

After five years and almost 14,000 miles, walking each day for 1825 consecutive days, Global Walker Polly Letofsky is returning home to Vail, Colorado on July 30, 2004 as the first American woman to walk around the world. The goal of her journey was to raise awareness about breast cancer. She also raised approximately $200,000.

Walking with BOB

The 42-year-old Letofsky has been accompanied around the world by BOB. The Global Walker, a custom-altered running stroller, is named BOB, after the California-based company that manufactures BOB Sport Utility Strollers and bicycle trailers. Letofsky's BOB has served as a rolling backpack, carrying all of her possessions, including water, snacks, clothes, overnight supplies and her laptop. BOB is adorned with patches from 22 countries and pins from each U.S. state, and proudly displays signatures from thousands of women and men with breast cancer.

"BOB was an enormous hit all over the world," emailed Letofsky from the road. "And he's really taken a beating - it's amazing how he's hung in there."

Adventures on the Walk

When Letofsky started GlobalWalk, her route took her west from Colorado where she tackled the Rockies. From there she walked through the deserts to California, where she experienced a 7.2 earthquake. She flew from California to New Zealand, traveled through Australia, Singapore and Malaysia. Letofsky was in Malaysia on September 11, 2001, and recalls the date vividly.

"I wasn't around when Pearl Harbor was bombed, and I was too young to remember where I was the day JFK was shot. But I'll never forget where I was the day America lost its innocence. I was on an oil palm plantation in Malaysia grieving with Muslims."

After Malaysia, Letofsky traveled through Thailand, India, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Switzerland and Austria. Then it was on to Germany, France, Luxemburg, Belgium, the Netherlands, England, Scotland and Ireland. From there she headed back to America, flying into New York, walking through New Jersey, Pennsylvania and north to Canada. Next came the upper Midwest states, and finally, Colorado.

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