Hamburg girl's mission to raise money for St. Jude's gets off to rocky start

 

The woods have always been a special place for 10-year-old Alexandria Amadoro.

"Just being in touch with nature, seeing all the wild animals, and to be able to be in the middle of nowhere," Alexandria Amadoro said.

She's been hiking alongside her dad since she was just 4 years old. A passion she's put to good use, raising money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to help kids battling cancer.

"I know they're going through a struggle that most people don't know, and the fact that they're going through that means that I have to help them through it," Alexandria explained.

Alexandria and her dad set off in March, with hopes of hiking the more than 2,000-mile-long Appalachian Trail and fundraising through her website, "Go Alexandria Go."

However, a couple of days into the journey, they hit a sharp bump in the road.

"Stepped on a rock, thought I hyper extended my knee, kept going," Alexandria's dad, Edward Amadoro said.

One-hundred-fifty-four miles later, Edward said he could not go any further, and in that moment, they were forced to abandon the dream.

"That day we were driving home, I had to pull over like four or five times cause I was crying. So I'd pull over, apologize to her," Edward Amadora recalled.

They returned home to Hamburg, where, after visiting with his doctor, Edward learned he had a torn meniscus and several stress fractures. However, Alexandria never gave up, she told her dad they'd persevere.

"I believe everything happens for a reason, so I thought we are meant to do this hike another way another time," Alexandria explained. "… I believe that my other purpose is I'm here for my dad."

It was that last sentiment especially, that moved her dad to tears.

"Her life is such a gift to me, because it truly has changed me and made me want to be a better person," Edward Amadoro said.

Several months and one surgery later, the father-daughter team is back on track. They have crutches and walking sticks in hand, and their sights are set on reaching the 200-mile marker by the end of the year.

With each passing mile, Alexandria believes she's one step closer to fulfilling her purpose.

"It's just the fact that I know I am doing good, that makes me smile when I wake up," she said.

Alexandria has already raised nearly $10,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. She also hopes to someday receive her "triple crown," which can be obtained through hiking the entire Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail.