On Thursday night, Kevin Doyle finished his trek of over 600 miles from Petaluma, California, to San Diego, in a tribute to his late wife Eileen, who passed away due to pancreatic cancer in November 2012.
Both Kevin and Eileen were huge “Star Wars” fans. According to Kevin’s fundraising page for his trek to Comic Con, Eileen loved to draw characters from “Star Wars,” and she was “so popular at the Comic Book Shows… appearing as a guest artist, her fans were of all ages and would surround her tables with smiles on their face and full of conversation.”
But just over a year after Eileen was diagnosed with metastatic adenocarcinoma in October 2011, Eileen passed away. Kevin says he still attends the comic book shows, “but not so much for myself but rather more to honour Eileen and the art she created and to keep her presence at the shows.”
Kevin offered personal details on his fundraising page:
On November 7th of 2012 Eileen lost her battle with cancer. From that day forward the sun does not rise for me, everyday is November the 7th, my candle has burned out. Eileen was the most amazing person I ever knew, she was so beautiful, so thoughtful and she was loved by everyone who knew her. Eileen was the center of so many lives just as she was in my life but while our time together here on earth was so very short my devotion to her is life long and I can’t imagine my life without her. So I honour her with every breath I take and I keep her spirit close to my heart as I continue on.
So nearly three years after his wife’s death, with a big “Star Wars” movie coming later this year, Kevin set out for Comic Con 2015 in San Diego in true “Star Wars” style: He left Rancho Obi-Wan, a museum totally dedicated to the “Star Wars” franchise, on June 6, and walked roughly 645 miles, pushing a cart filled with camping gear and extra clothes, in an all-white stormtrooper outfit, while wearing a sign on his back: “I race in memory of Eileen Shige Doyle.”
“It’s just been one amazing experience,” Kevin told Coast News.
During his trek, he’s also been raising awareness for “Eileen’s Little Angels,” a non-profit charity he’s creating in honour of his wife. And he’s getting plenty of attention: motorists, bicyclists, joggers and walkers have stopped to say hi with the stormtrooper, take a couple of pictures, and support Kevin on his journey.
“For me, I haven’t had my head around it just quite yet,” Kevin said. “For me, it’s just me walking to honour my wife, but then people are gathering and making it really special. And they’re making it personal for them, which I hadn’t accounted for that — that people would receive me in that way.”
Now that Kevin’s arrived safely in San Diego, he will enjoy Comic-Con thanks to a generous weekend pass provided by Rancho Obi-Wan CEO and president Steve Sansweet. He’s being put up by friends from the local 501st Legion, a volunteer organisation for costume-wearers, to stay at a hotel for four nights. Once Comic-Con wraps up, Kevin will take an Amtrak train home instead of walking. But he says he hopes to leave time for himself during the return trip and beyond.
“We’ll see what happens after this,” Kevin told Coast News. “I kind of left this as an open book for me.”
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