It was such a simple question, and one I should have obviously anticipated as I began this little 52.4mile barefoot "adventure," but it caught me surprisingly off guard and made me revisit some things internally in order to respond to her.
I have posted the response below if you guys want to give it a read. It is directly relevant, or even central to, the topic of my post "Sole Searching", as well.
Surprisingly, your question about why I do what I do, and why I'm involved with Worth the Hurt, caught me a bit off-guard. :p So I went 'round and around for a bit trying to get my thoughts concise enough for a short bit of copy and I guess my short answer would be this:
"I am involved with WTH because I choose to live as an example to others (especially to kids that grew up like me, and to the kids of GYO) that anything that can be dreamed, can be accomplished; that the only limits to our potential are those we place upon ourselves."
Here's the long answer I wrote up in order to get to the short answer (in case you're curious):
I'm not the smartest, fastest or best looking guy around. Not by a long shot. Nonetheless, I have always believed that human beings have limitless potential for greatness. In order for that potential to ever become more than just an unrealized possibility of doing great things, though, we must act upon that possibility, and acknowledge that the only limits are those we place upon ourselves.
So, I've lived my whole life, through all the ups and downs (and believe me, there are times when I feel like there's not another soul on earth that can relate to the way I am), with the intention of continually learning - seeing just how far I might go, how many personal limits I can shatter, and how much of my own potential I can realize. I'm not worried about failure, because that's just another arbitrary limit, easily removed by recognizing that how "far" I actually go is irrelevant. As they say, it's the journey, not the destination.
Growing up poor in Kentucky and then rising to the ranks of the oldest law firm on Wall Street brought me into contact with an incredibly large cross-section of humanity. And rather than seeing only differences, I came to see an amazing amount of similarity and interconnection between us as people. Turns out, hopes and dreams are universal to us all, regardless of social, economic or physical conditions.
And then I came to realize a remarkable thing about human potential - something that I think is a testament to just how deep the bond between all human beings still is - and that is this: The best, and I think only, way to achieve all which you are capable of achieving is to help another person, even if that simply means offering encouragement, or, better yet, living in such a way as to be a mirror for the realization of their own potential.
In other words, when you help another person achieve their full potential, you get closer to achieving your own.
So, long story short, the reason I do the seemingly crazy things I do is so that I may live by example, as a reminder to others, especially to kids who grew up like me, and like the kids of GYO, that you truly can accomplish anything you dream. You need only listen to your heart, help others, and realize that there are no limits except those we place upon ourselves.
To live this way, to me, IS Worth the Hurt. :)