ST. PETERSUBRG, Fla. - Give Dr. Dave Mayer a pass for wearing a Cubs jersey to Tropicana Field, but only because he arrived for a good cause.
"Everybody, when they hear what I am doing along the walk, was like, 'Oh, you need water, can I help and get you a cold towel for your neck?'" Mayer said.
This is stadium number 15 on his 30-ballpark tour.
The CEO of the Patient Safety Movement Foundation has been to Atlanta, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Cleveland, among others, in hopes of raising awareness for the third-leading cause of death in America: medical error, which has a yearly toll of 250,000 people.
"We still have not made the progress we need to make to make health care safer for all," he said. "How can I be more active in my own care, my loved-ones care?"
The die-hard baseball fan - who has a tattoo celebrating the first Cubs World Series win in over 100 years - started the nationwide journey before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but it became that much more relevant once so many were being hospitalized.
"I walk every day in memory of a patient or caregiver who has lost their lives," he said.
He's driving between cities, but then he walks a few laps around the ballpark and then twenty miles a day in the community he's visiting.
"Walking has always been what I use to get not only physical but mental well-being," he said.
He's walked 1,100 miles and driven 5,000, so far. Each one is a reminder that he's marching for those who would give anything to be out and about right now.
"I felt I had to do something to support my friends and colleagues on the front lines, and I watched Forrest Gump on TV one night, and it reminded me when he got frustrated and helpless, he started running."
He will get to Marlins Park in Miami next week. He will finish getting to all 30 stadiums by February.