BATON ROUGE, LA (FOX44) — A dollar can go a long way, and so can a pair of running shoes. Paul Sibley decided to use both to honor a young boy whose dying wish was to feed the hungry.
Sibley took the final strides toward the Trevor Sims Memorial Bridge Wednesday evening, ending a two-day run than began at Audubon Park in New Orleans.
"Feeling very happy, very happy to be in Baton Rouge," he said immediately after completing his journey. "It's a long run."
Sibley ran approximately 125 miles over 36 hours. He carried water on his back, and Sims in his heart. As he reached the group of family and friends waiting for him at the end, he hugged Trevor's mother, Allison. It reinforced why Sibley ran.
"For Alison, her journey with Trevor and what they meant to me," he said. "Still mean to me. You know, that was one of my first reasons of doing this."
“I think it is so awesome that people are still keeping Trevor's legacy alive, and supporting the Food Bank so no one will have to go hungry," Allison Sims said. "If Trevor was here, he would be so happy! I am one proud mama!”
Sibley's nephew was a classmate and friend of Trevor's. Trevor died last October of cancer, but before he did, he started a food drive to benefit the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. It ended up bringing in approximately 400,000 meals. A couple months later, the Metro Council voted to rename the overpass on North Boulevard in Trevor's honor.
"It's just sad when... I have two boys, and when a kid gets cancer... you know, I had cancer, that's one thing," Sibley mentioned, "but when a little kid gets cancer, it's just not fair."
Trevor was just one reason why Sibley ran between the two cities. He was also motivated by his uncle, Charles, who was taken by cancer in 2011.
"We've lost too many from cancer," Sibley said while fighting tears. "So it's a good healing process. It takes a lot of steps, but it feels good."
Sibley is one of the lucky ones who survived cancer, and long-distance running lets him take a lot of those healing steps.
"Laying on the hospital bed during my treatments, (doctors) told me I couldn't do this again," he recalled. "I'm stubborn, I wanted to prove them all wrong. So I think I'm taking it one step at a time."
Before he died, Trevor had a list of things he wanted to see and do. The food drive was something he was able to accomplish. Among the items he did not get to check off the list was to visit Sibley and his family in at their home in Hawaii.
The weather made the run difficult for Sibley, and seeing everyone at the end made him emotional. Knowing that it was over was reason to celebrate.
"I'm gonna have a really nice dinner, a really long bath, and a really good nap," he joked.
Sibley got some sponsors before he started his run. He and his family came to Louisiana because his graduating class from Walker High School is holding a 25-year reunion this weekend, and he is counting on his classmates to donate, as well. He did not set a fundraising goal, and did not know how much money he had raised by the end of his run.
"I'd like to find out. But at the end of the day, it's about the message as much as it is about the dollars. Although a lot of dollars would go a long way."
According to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, every dollar it receives translates to five meals for the hungry. To contribute, click here.