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Desert Walk to Promote Cancer Checkups

May 29, 1997

It's not the promised 1,800-mile trek along the Great Wall of China, but Bill "Walkin' Willie" Croker predicted Wednesday that his journey through Death Valley this summer will be just the thing to remind people of his crusade for affordable cancer checkups.

Speaking outside the Downey gas station where he works as an attendant, the 50-year-old Pico Rivera resident laid out plans to walk 128 miles through the blistering desert as a "warmup" for next year's China attempt, which his manager said had to be put on hold because of a publicity conflict.

"I'll burn and I'll bleed and I'll cut," said Croker, looking out through mirrored blue sunglasses under a faded blue fishing hat. "Then my people across the country are going to know I'm back."

He says his people are the friends who have supported him during two walks from Los Angeles to Washington to promote cancer checkups. He took up his mission more than 20 years ago, after losing his mother, father and sister to cancer.

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