Memorial City honors veteran stroke survivor with mall walking challenge

HOUSTON – Many people walk the mall for exercise. It's a climate-controlled area that can give you plenty of distance and places to stop and rest. 

Now, one veteran is gaining attention at Memorial City Mall for walking the length of a marathon after he suffered a stroke.

Two years ago, Eddie deRoulet suffered a debilitating stroke. He lost control over the majority of his right side and said he really only had two choices: sit at home and resent his life or do something about it.

He decided he would start walking.

“The Marine Corps taught me, you need to do something, you go do it, so that's where it comes from,” deRoulet said. “It was right before and after Harvey so this was a safe place for my wife to leave me while she went to work on the house.”

First, he said he barely made it out of the department store he started in. He kept walking, though, increasing his exercise from 15 minutes a day to 15 miles.

Then, he made a big leap.

“On my 66th birthday, which is Veterans Day, I would attempt a marathon,” he said.

He spent more than 9 hours, not just attempting a marathon, but accomplishing one inside the mall.

“We had a 15-minute break. I walked some more. About six hours into it we took a half hour to eat. I walked some more.,” deRoulet explained.

In the end, he even rewarded himself with dinner. At the mall, of course.

“We celebrated by going to the California Pizza and having pizza after,” deRoulet said, laughing.

Now, he's a bit of a legend around the mall. He said people approach him with words of encouragement. However, being part of “the few, the proud” doesn't mean he'll boast.

“All I do is walk,” he said.

That's what he encourages other stroke survivors to do, too. Just walk. He says even in the beginning when he made the slightest change to his daily routine, he saw big improvements.

“I walk to live because I believe if I didn't start walking, I wouldn't be, I wouldn't be where I am,” deRoulet said.

Now, he averages 10 miles a day.

The mall is so proud of Eddie, they're hosting a walk to honor him on Saturday, March 9.

"Eddie’s Walk of Life" begins at 9 a.m. Details can be found on the Memorial City website.