This Is Home: Naval Officer is kayaking the entire Ohio River to raise awareness for Parkinson’s disease
MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but Naval Officer Taylor Dewey, 41, is fighting to change that one paddle at a time.
Naval Officer, Taylor Dewey, has spent much of his military career on the water.
Having just returned from being overseas, Dewey decided to take another long kayaking trip to raise awareness for a disease like he has in the past after completing his service.
Dewey is currently on day nine of his journey to kayak the entire Ohio River to raise awareness for Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is something that is a little more personal for Dewey as he shared why he chose to raise awareness for it.
“Parkinson’s disease effects a lot of people worldwide in the United States and it infected my family. My grandmother died of Parkinson’s disease about a decade ago. And I remember seeing her going through this really debilitating disease and it was really horrible,” Dewey said.
Dewey says the entire 981-mile journey should take about 40 to 45 days to complete depending on weather.
His trek started in Pittsburgh and the goal is to end in Cairo, Illinois.
Dewey talked about what he has been doing for shelter and some of the other places besides Marietta he has stopped in on his adventure so far.
“But I’ve been camping out seven nights until getting here doing about 25 miles per day. I’ve stayed at a couple marinas and a yacht club. Sometimes I’ve called the police and they’ve said yeah you can camp out at the local park there, which is nice to not get arrested for camping in a park. But very hospitable people I’ve met along the river. I’ve stayed in places like New Martinsville, just up the river near St. Marys, and then before that I was in Moundsville and a couple other towns,” Dewey said.
Dewey is pushing himself to the limits, facing mental and physical challenges every day. But he says that’s nothing compared to what patients with Parkinson’s deal with daily.
He mentioned what his biggest challenge has been so far.
“So the biggest challenge for me is just mostly physical because it is really a pretty physically demanding journey right. Typically, I have rode my bicycle around the perimeter of the united states and I have kayaked the length of several other rivers. This is the longest one I have attempted. So there is always a break in period in the beginning you know where your muscles are getting acclimated and you kind of get used to sleeping in a tent for days on end,” Dewey mentioned.
Parkinson’s is a debilitating and devastating disease that effects million of Americans every year. Dewey’s goal is to raise $2,000 during his trip.
He shared how much he has raised and how people can help him reach his goal.
“So far I’ve raised almost 13-hundred dollars and the event is called paddle for Parkinson’s the Ohio River. You can go to michaeljfox.org and then search for support a team member and type in paddle for Parkinson’s and it should pop up. I really appreciate any donations that people would be interested in contributing,” Dewey said.
Dewey continues his journey as he passed by Parkersburg on Friday afternoon snapping a few photos while he was passing by.
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