Kingston man hiking Appalachian Trail to fulfill a dream

Maureen Boyle

Brad Cook is living out a dream, one step at a time.

The retired Brockton health teacher is hiking the Appalachian trail, a months long journey he hopes will inspire others to never give up.

He is also hoping his hike will help raise money for a Carver woman who underwent a double lung transplant and awareness of organ donations.

“I hope the kids I taught will see I am following through on my dream,” Cook said.

Cook said he began to think about hiking the Appalachian Trail in 1975 when he met a man who did it.

“It intrigued me. I kept thinking to myself, I would love to do this,” Cook said.

But life at the time took him on a different path.

He was married, had a baby and there were more pressing obligations.

He eventually became a teacher in Brockton, worked with police officers in the school who talked with students about following dreams and staying on the right path in life.

Cook said he also began taking steps to stay healthier after his father had a heart attack at age 44.

He got into running, marathon running to be exact.

And through it all, he kept thinking about hiking the Appalachian Trail.

He said he would talk to his students about it. Then, when he retired, he thought: why not now?

Now, he’s doing it.

Cook said he’s hoping he can also turn his hike into a fundraising effort for Lindsay Briggs, a college student from Carver who underwent a double lung transplant.

Briggs, who has cystic fibrosis, is recovering in Pittsburgh and, her family said, is doing remarkably well. She hopes to be back home in time for graduation at Stonehill College, where she is a senior.

Cook, 59, said he has a special place in his heart for the organ donation issue.

His niece, Valerie Cook, underwent a liver transplant. She is now a sophomore in college.

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