‘Life-chang­ing’: Co­me­dian un­der­takes 800km home­less chal­lenge

Irish Independent - - News - Conor McCrave

AN IR­ISH co­me­dian who spent Christ­mas sleep­ing rough in Cal­i­for­nia has de­scribed it as a lifechang­ing event and the best ex­pe­ri­ence of his life.

Francis Cronin, orig­i­nally from Tem­pleogue in Dublin but liv­ing in the US for the past four years, set him­self the chal­lenge of walk­ing 500 miles (800km) from San Fran­cisco with noth­ing but a sleep­ing bag and a goal to reach Los An­ge­les. It is all in the name of Home­less Health Los An­ge­les, which opened the Ir­ish­man’s eyes to the hor­rors of home­less­ness in one of the wealth­i­est ci­ties in Amer­ica.

But while rais­ing money for the char­ity is at the core of Francis’s mo­ti­va­tion, the re­ward from the first 15 days of his jour­ney has been the sense of ful­fil­ment he feels while brav­ing the el­e­ments and sleep­ing on the streets.

“This will prob­a­bly be the best Christ­mas I’ve ever had,” he said.

“While I missed the turkey phys­i­cally, men­tally I was re­warded else­where. I would say I’ve never ex­pe­ri­enced this over­whelm­ing feel­ing of pos­i­tiv­ity and I can’t re­ally de­scribe it.

“Christ­mas Day and New Year’s Day are a lit­tle bit over-hyped, es­pe­cially when you’re just try­ing to find a place to sleep at night.”

Fol­low­ing a huge out­pour­ing of sup­port hav­ing doc­u­mented the first 115 miles on so­cial me­dia, he is more de­ter­mined than ever to com­plete his goal.

“A wo­man sent me an email to say she was vol­un­teer­ing in a home­less shel­ter which she has never done be­fore in her life,” he said.

“It’s quite an emo­tional roller-coaster to be ac­ci­den­tally hav­ing this kind of in­flu­ence and it re­ally is big­ger than me.”

Re­ward­ing: Francis Cronin en route from San Fran­cisco to Los An­ge­les

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