Navy Officer Kayaks Entire Ohio River to Raise Awareness About Parkinson’s Disease

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MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) — There’s no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but 41-year-old Navy officer Taylor Dewey is fighting to change that paddle at once.

Naval officer Taylor Dewey has spent much of his military career on the water.

Just back from a trip overseas, Dewey decided to take another long kayaking trip to raise awareness for an illness like he did in the past after completing his service.

Dewey is currently on day nine of his kayaking trip down the entire Ohio River to raise awareness for Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s is something a little more personal for Dewey, as he opened up about why he chose to raise awareness.

“Parkinson’s disease affects many people around the world in the United States and it has infected my family. My grandmother died of Parkinson’s disease about ten years ago. And I remember watching her go through this really debilitating disease and it was really awful,” Dewey said.

Dewey says the entire 981-mile trip should take around 40 to 45 days depending on the weather.

His journey started in Pittsburgh and the goal is to end in Cairo, Illinois.

Dewey talked about what he’s done for shelter and some of the other places besides Marietta he’s stopped at on his adventure so far.

“But I camped seven nights before I got here, doing about 25 miles a day. I have stayed at a few marinas and a yacht club. Sometimes I called the police and they said yes you can camp in the local park which is good not to get arrested for camping in a park. But very hospitable people I met along the river. I’ve stayed in places like New Martinsville, just up the river near St. Marys, and before that I was in Moundsville and a few other towns,” Dewey said.

Dewey pushes his limits, facing mental and physical challenges every day. But he says that’s nothing compared to what patients with Parkinson’s go through on a daily basis.

He mentioned what his biggest challenge has been so far.

“So the biggest challenge for me is mainly physical, because it’s really quite a physically demanding trip, isn’t it. Typically, I’ve cycled around the perimeter of the United States and I ‘ve kayaked along several other rivers. This is the longest I’ve tried. So there’s always a break at the beginning, you know where your muscles are acclimating and you sort of get used to it. sleeping in a tent for days,” Dewey said.

Parkinson’s disease is a debilitating and devastating disease that affects millions of Americans every year. Dewey’s goal is to raise $2,000 during his trip.

He shared how much he raised and how people can help him reach his goal.

“So far I’ve raised nearly 13 hundred dollars and the event is called Paddle for Parkinson’s the Ohio River. You can go to michaeljfox.org then search for support from a team member and type paddle for Parkinson’s and it should show up. I really appreciate any donations people would be interested in making,” Dewey said.

Dewey continues his journey passing through Parkersburg on Friday afternoon taking a few photos as he passes.

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