Family walking across United States


By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent


A special group of people on a special trip made a stop Friday in McDonough.



The Cobb family spent some time in McDonough with Mayor Billy Copeland, his wife Gloria, and Leslie Balog, the Mayor’s Assistant, on their journey. Photo by Nick Vassy



Mayor Billy Copeland and his wife Gloria were among those who had breakfast with the Cobb family - Jennifer and Jonathan along with their children Jonathan, Jenna, and Jaxi.

The Cobbs are on a 4,000-mile trek across the United States in memory of their daughter Julia and to raise awareness and funds to fight childhood cancer.

Julia passed away in October of 2013, at 8 years old, while on her Make-a-Wish trip to Walt Disney World.

When she was first diagnosed, her father pointed out that the first three letters of the word “cancer” spelled “can.”

“You do what you can and let God do the rest,” he told her.

From her childhood nickname, Ju, was formed the phrase “Ju can,” and the family has established the JuCan Foundation in her memory.

Last August the family began a “Disney to Disney” walk across the United States. They started in the Downtown Disney section of Disneyland in Anaheim, Califor-nia.

From there they have traveled through 300 cities in California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama.

Georgia is 13th of the 14 states on their itinerary. The family now is heading for Florida with plans to finish the walk March 17 (Julia’s ninth birthday) at Cinderella's Castle in Walt Disney World.

As of Monday the family had walked 3,325 miles and raised $26,000 of its $413,000 goal, according to its web site.

Copeland spoke glowingly of his time with the Cobb family Friday morning.

“Gloria and I were honored to meet and have breakfast with the Cobb family,” he said. “We were certainly impressed by the deep faith and steady poise of each family member as they shared the story and purpose of their journey. We will continue to keep them in our thoughts and prayers as they near the completion of their 4,000-mile walk.”

Jennifer Cobb’s perception of McDonough, after seeing hundreds of towns across the country, was exceptional as well.

“Of all the towns we’ve been in, McDonough stands out. It’s one of the smallest but probably the most vibrant,” she said. “It was very impressive to me that they obviously take pride in their town, and that’s a reflection of the mayor and his leadership.”

Cobb added that Gritz treated her family to lunch last week and several businesses and families in the area were “very hospitable and really kind to us. It definitely puts McDonough at the top of our list.”

The foundation's web site (www.jucanfoundation.org) has complete information on the journey and is updated regularly. It contains a number of inspiring stories of people whose paths the Cobbs have crossed both during Julia's battle with cancer and the family’s current undertaking.

The JuCan Foundation also has a Facebook page.