LEWISTON — Paul Lauzier plans to take the walk of his life.

On March 6, when his oldest daughter would have been 44 years old, the retired shoe worker from Lewiston plans to begin a 1,500-mile walk to his son’s home in Sebastian, Fla.

His goal is to raise thousands of dollars to fight the illnesses that took away several of the women in his life. For his mother, Ella, it was Alzheimer’s disease. For his first wife, Jeannine, it was cancer. And for his daughter, Tina, it was mental illness.

In 1996, Tina Lauzier attempted suicide by jumping off the Million Dollar Bridge between Portland and South Portland. She survived, but the injury was devastating.

“She broke every bone in her lower back,” Lauzier said. Her legs were crumpled. “Doctors told her she’d never walk again.”

She worked for a year to move again.

“She got out of that wheelchair and she walked,” he said. “But she was in chronic pain and her illness kept its hold.

Last year, she returned to the site of her first attempt, this time standing on the new Casco Bay Bridge, and she jumped.

“She killed herself,” Lauzier said. “Her illness had her for 30 years.”

So while he is still fit, Lauzier wants to fight back.

He chose walking because that’s how he has been getting around since 1962, when he lost his license after getting in several accidents. He never bothered to replace it.

After all, he managed to get to work when he needed to. And he hasn’t limited himself to Lewiston, once walking as far as Waterville and back in a 27-hour span.

He chose his destination, Sebastian, Fla., because that’s where his son Scott lives.

Before his departure, there are preparations to make, though.

He plans to see his doctor for a checkup in a couple of weeks, just prior to his 67th birthday.

“I already talked to him once,” Lauzier said. “He told me, ‘I don’t see why you can’t do what you want.'”

Lauzier is not worried.

“I am in fantastic shape,” he said.

He also has a new phone with GPS, two pairs of new sneakers and some new athletic clothes, though he still needs rain gear.

More pressing is a need for donations. And he is trying to get someone with a motor coach or camper to donate its use for the trip.

“That would save us the expense of getting hotel rooms,” he said.

He wants to preserve his donations for the agencies he is trying to help, the American Cancer Society, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and the National Alliance on Mental Health.

He hopes to drum up donations by holding a breakfast fundraiser on Thursday, Feb. 10, between 7 and 9:30 a.m. at the Amistad Community office at 66 State St. in Portland. The nonprofit agency, which serves as a peer services group for people with mental illnesses, is working with Lauzier on the donations.

If all goes as scheduled, Lauzier plans to leave from St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, where Tina was born.

He’ll walk 30 miles each day, less in bad weather, he said. A buddy has volunteered to drive the route with him.

Is there any place along the long route he is looking forward to seeing?

“No,” Lauzier said. “I am just looking forward to leaving.”

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