Walking from the Brooklyn Bridge to Montauk had been on Todd Krystopher’s to-do list for many years. So when his longtime friend, Craig Jamison, was hospitalized with Covid-19, Krystopher, of Merrick, put the plan in motion and started a GoFundMe page to help with Jamison’s medical expenses.
“My immediate concern after Craig’s diagnosis was that he has a wife and a child, and just closed on a house,” Krystopher said. “I wanted to do something, and my wife [Dana] suggested the walk I’ve been thinking about for so long.”
More than once during his six-day, 130-mile journey, Krystopher said he became emotional and “choked up” when thinking of Jamison. They met 25 years ago through a mutual friend. Krystopher graduated from Calhoun High School in 2000, one year after Jamison graduated from Mepham.
Jamison was diagnosed with Covid-19 a week after closing on his first house in Freeport and endured a 40-day battle at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan beginning April 21. He was on oxygen for most of his stay and needed dialysis for a stretch.
“There were times while I was hospitalized when I wasn’t quite with it,” Jamison said. “When my wife [Holly] told me what Todd was planning to do, to be honest I wasn’t surprised. He’s a very thoughtful person. He helped my family in ways I can’t articulate to anyone.”
Jamison was released from the hospital on May 29 and Krystopher went into action three days later; he logged 32 miles from the Brooklyn Bridge to his Merrick home. The stretch had him second-guessing himself.
“I’m a pretty fit guy, but looking back I shouldn’t have done so much on the first day,” he said. “I literally couldn’t move when I got home. That night, lying in bed thinking I wasn’t going to make it all the way to Montauk, my wife said ‘Imagine what Craig is going through.’ Her words helped me cope and keep going.”
Over each of the next five days, Krystopher covered between 15 and 32 miles. He was picked up by friends in Bohemia, Shirley and Southampton after completing each daily excursion while the GoFundMe garnered more than $22,000 through mid-June.
“There’s a lot of humanity out there,” Krystopher said. “I was stopped by people every day who gave me cash out of their pocket to put towards the cause. The amount raised exceeded my expectations.”
The final day of Krystopher’s journey was a memorable one. Not only did he reach Montauk — covering the last couple of miles in complete darkness — but he also received news that Jamison was coming off dialysis and on the road to a full recovery.
“I’m happy I did it and happier that Craig is OK,” he said.