by Nat Bloomer
SANTA ROSA—Why is Alec Mario Waclawski walking from San Diego, California to Washington, D.C. dressed in a tuxedo and looking like a combination of Charlie Chaplin and Benny Hill? He has a very good answer.
Alec prefers to be called by his middle name Mario. Born in Poland, he immigrated to America as a refugee in 1986. He worked three jobs for years to save $40,000 after which he started his own bagel shop in New York City. Later, he sold and moved his family to San Diego, California where he has a successful coffee shop, the Hancock Street Café. His three children, Martin 21, Paul 18, and Alexandra 15, are running the café while dad is walking to Washington without money, credit cards, or a cell phone.
Mario left San Diego on foot April 1st for his cause, to build a grassroots organization to find a cure for cancer. He knows while he is walking to the White House, the path he takes and the people he meets are the foundation for relationships, which are formed when strangers help an odd-looking man without money, shelter or food. When he arrives in Washington he intends to ask the President of the United States to find a cure for cancer. Mario’s wife, and mother of their three children, died of cervical cancer in 1999.
Mario is an intelligent, hard-working businessperson who has put hours of thought into his mission. When you see him for the first time, you immediately look twice, knowing he has a message.
"We need to find a cure for cancer. I am going to the President of the United States because he works for us, the people of America. Now that I have turned 50 years old, and my children are old enough to operate our coffee shop. I will walk every year, starting from my home in San Diego on April 1st, and arrive at the White House on September 11th, and do so year after year until we find a cure for cancer," Mario stated.
Politically he feels that if the country were to spend a fraction of the time and money invested in the Iraq war, there would already be a cure for cancer. After ineffectual and costly treatments, Mario’s wife succombed to cervical cancer. He believes current cancer treatments reflect the problems with national health care in general. He believes doctors, insurance corporations, and pharmaceutical companies all benefit more from cancer treatments than the patients.
"The status quo is not good enough," Mario says. "Wake up America!"
As of press time Mario was in Kansas, America’s heartland. It’s a good place to start a grassroots following.
Photo by Nat Bloomer/Santa Rosa News
Alec Mario Waclawski is walking from San Diego, CA. to Washington DC. Seen here in Santa Rosa in route.