Joe D. Completes Journey to Football Hall of Fame

7:52 PM, Jul 20, 2013   |    comments
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CANTON, OH -Ten days and 213 miles later, former Buffalo Bill and Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe DeLamielleure has arrived in Canton, Ohio. The mayor of the city, along with the President of the Hall of Fame, joined a large crowd of well wishers to help celebrate the end of his long trek.

Joe D left Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park on July 10th on a walk to raise awareness and support for the Grace's Lamp Organization of Charlotte, North Carolina. The organization deals with young children who grow out of their prosthetic legs but cannot afford the high cost of new adult prosthetic legs.

It's amazing how fate can bring people together.

Bills Hall of Famer Joe Delamielleure had always thought about walking to Canton, Ohio to mark this year's tenth anniversary of his being elected to the Hall.

What he needed was a good cause to do it for.

Meanwhile, the Funderburk family of South Carolina was looking for help in raising money for a foundation they had started that helps pay for prosthetics for the children of families in need.

The Funnderburks had been one of those families not very long ago, when insurance refused to pay the $120,000 for new prosthetic legs for their son Joey who had outgrown his.

A mutual friend gave Chrystal Funderburk Joe D's phone number and told her that maybe Joe would be willing to help them out.

Scott Brown: "When you first called Joe D. did you even expect a phone call back?"

Chrystal Funderburk: "No I didn't. I'm thinking he'll never call us back. He called me back 30 minutes later, what a guy, so generous and kind. And he asked me to tell him what it (the foundation) was all about and I did and he said he said 'you know I'm in.'"

Joe DeLamielleure: "I go to church and I asked God and said give me a reason, put me in a position where I can help the most people and Joey popped up, so it was an answer to a prayer. You gotta be passionate to accomplish something like this, you just can't go do it and he gave me a reason."

And so Wednesday Joe D. started walking. He's going to walk 213 miles -- one step at a time -- from Ralph Wilson stadium where his career began to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Ohio where it culminated.

Scott Brown: "What are you hoping will come out of this Joe?"

Joe DeLamielleure: "I know this is a big dream but everybody knows about breast cancer, everybody knows about the March of Dimes, but no one helps these people. As an athlete that's your whole life, being able to move, and it hit me and I became very aware of it and said we got to try to help these people."

Joe is hoping to complete the walk in ten days. He's gotten off to a great start - walking about 45 miles over the first two days.

Joey Funderburk: "If anybody can do it, he can do it. He's got the willpower and the guts to do it and just very excited about it."

Joe DeLamielleure: "I know it's going to be difficult but I've got a lot of faith and a lot of people praying, a lot of angels out there."

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