Long time Huntington Beach resident Bob Ewing is planning on walking 60 miles for his 60th birthday in June to raise money for cancer research.

Long time Huntington Beach resident Bob Ewing is planning on walking 60 miles for his 60th birthday in June to raise money for cancer research. (Ani Yessayan)

The number of years is the theme for Bob Ewing's 60th birthday, but he doesn't want 60 presents, a 60-person party or 60 snow-white swans.

Ewing is planning on walking 60 miles and is hoping residents will donate $60 — one dollar a mile— but it isn't for him.

The longtime Huntington Beach resident and executive pastor of First Christian Church of Huntington Beach is hoping to raise $6,000 for the Institute for Families, a nonprofit organization that assists families touched by cancer or vision-impacting diseases with counseling and support.

"I want to do something for someone and not just walk 60 miles," he said.

Ewing's decision to make his special day about others is not surprising considering his generous nature, said Dan Deghi, First Christian Church's pastor of outreach and a longtime friend.

"I just think that it's just indicative of Bob's big heart," he said.

Ewing got involved with the organization through members of the congregation — one family, to be exact.

Parents Brian and Cindy and their twins Jake and Emma Olson have been using the Institute for Families as they have dealt with the ups and downs of Jake's condition, Ewing said.

Jake, 12, lost the sight in his left eye when he was 1 to retinal blastoma, a childhood cancer on the retina. Jake has been losing vision in his right eye and is legally blind.

The family has been an inspiration to the church and to Ewing specifically, Deghi said.

"It's been kind of a journey he's taken with the family through the whole process," Deghi said.

The church will be his home base, and he is planning on walking eight- and seven-mile loops that start and finish at his church starting at 1 a.m. June 19 and finishing as the church service ends at 7 p.m. — hopefully, he added.

"If my body doesn't cooperate, it may not end at that time," he said.

Ewing has arthritis in his big toes and doesn't have 20-year-old feet and knees anymore, he said with a laugh.

He plans to change his socks and shoes and ice his feet and has been asking friends to pray for his feet and knees, he said.

Ewing, a former runner, has hiked the Grand Canyon, run a marathon and completed a 100-mile bike ride, but his knees and feet have forced him make the switch to walking.

To get ready for his birthday, he is walking four to five times a week and will walk 30 miles this week to see what it feels like, Ewing said.

Ewing talks both seriously and jokingly about the obstacles he is contending with, but he is positive he will complete the walk.

"My body may not want to finish, but my mind will keep me going," he said.

How To Help

Donate at www.fcchb.com or mail a check to Institute for Families, c/o First Christian Church, 1207 Main St., Huntington Beach, CA 92648