Naval officer kayaks across Ohio River to raise funds for Parkinson’s disease
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) – There’s no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but a Navy officer is trying to change that by kayaking the entire Ohio River, raising funds along the way.
Taylor Dewey is on the final leg of her 32-day kayaking adventure, and her final pit stop was in Evansville.
The naval officer doesn’t need much with him to kayak 981 miles, just a few bags.
“All I need is in the kayak,” Dewey said. “I have a tent, I have a camping stove, I carry all my food, books, things like that.”
Before completing the last part of his trip, LST 325 staff held his kayak for him while he took a day off.
“LST 325, being naturally in the Navy, I saw this on the map and immediately called them the day before I arrived and said, ‘Hey, I’m taking a day off at Evansville, is there there any chance i can maybe tie my kayak down there? “Said Dewey.
“We’re a Navy ship, he’s a Navy man,” said LST 325 operations coordinator Amanda Tucker. “I felt almost, not obligated, but honorable because who else was going- he call?”
Every year, Dewey goes on an adventure while on leave from the Navy to decompress from stressful deployments. He kayaked and biked all over the country.
“It’s a great way to reunite with nature and relax a bit,” he said. “It’s a great way to travel, honestly. Either that or on a bike.
But this trip is more than just sightseeing. With every mile of his journey, he raises more money for Parkinson’s disease awareness.
“Parkinson’s disease, a terrible disease, it affects millions of people around the world,” Dewey said. “Like most families, I had someone who was affected by Parkinson’s disease. My grandmother tragically lost her life to the disease a dozen years ago.
Dewey’s grandmother gave him a love of the outdoors. He knew he wanted to raise money in honor of his battle with Parkinson’s disease, and an adventure was the best way he knew how.
“I like to challenge myself mentally and physically, and it’s tough, but it’s nothing compared to what people face on a daily basis battling Parkinson’s disease,” Dewey said.
“I’m a little jealous of him,” Tucker said, as she watched him charge in for the last of his adventure.
The LST crew was ready to help along the way.
“Even if we were only a small percentage of a contribution to his journey, I think it’s good enough for us,” Tucker said.
He took off, back on the open water, having already raised more than his $2,000 goal, working to raise more with every mile.
Dewey ends his journey in Cairo, Illinois, where he says his father will be there to pick him up.
All proceeds raised will go to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease Research.
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