Blind Bothell man walks to Canada for water, awareness

This article comes from newspaper Bothell-Kenmore Reporter and was published on March 30, 2016:

Walking is a way of life for one Bothell man who spent the better part of last week walking some 100 miles from Mill Creek to the Canadian border in an attempt to raise money and awareness for a cause.

Dylan Raines, 30, moved to Bothell last fall from northern California, where he walked more than 1,000 miles along the Oregon coast last summer giving sermons.

And while it’s an impressive feat in itself there’s also the fact that Raines is also blind.

Around six years ago Raines was diagnosed with keratoconus, a degenerative eye disease where the cornea begins to protrude, causing extreme near-sightedness and blindness.

So in 2010 Raines gave up his driver’s license and started walking while he lived in Olympia after watching a TED talk by Dr. John Francis, who went 22 years without riding in a motor vehicle.

“Walking was kind of a realization that we live in such a rush all the time and it’s so much more enjoyable to take a walk to downtown than go in a car for five minutes,” Raines said.

He’s also passionate about humanitarian causes and started looking for a non-profit to partner with after moving to Bothell. He ended up connecting with Water is Basic, a South Sudan and Texas-based organization which helps build wells in the war-torn country.

On March 22, Raines left Mill Creek and walked to the Canadian border in five days in an attempt to raise $20,000 for the organization.

Steve Roese is president of Water is Basic and walked with Raines the first day.

“Here’s a guy whose got a disability and he’s just using what he can do to make a difference,” Roese said.

In 2006, Roese said he was one of a group of people in South Sudan brainstorming ways to bring the country together and meet needs in the country which had been wracked with a half-decade of war.

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