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Riding for a Friend

  • October 02 2013

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    Riding for a Friend

    On September 1, sixty year-old David Parkes left St. Augustine, Florida and set off for San Diego, California… on his bicycle. David’s 3,100-mile pedal across the United States was both a celebration of lung cancer survival and a call to defeat the disease that has taken a heavy toll in his life.

    David and his childhood friend, Christopher “Kit” Blakemore, were diagnosed with lung cancer at the same time. Neither David nor Kit smoked and both were active, says David, “but cancer apparently does not read résumés.”

    David underwent treatment and has been cancer-free for several years, but Kit passed away in 2008. David considers himself lucky. He is harnessing the power of his own survival to defeat the disease that claimed his friend’s life. “Others have not been so fortunate,” he says, “so I ride for them.”

    This incredible ride isn’t just a tribute to the millions of people touched by the disease that took Kit’s life. David took advantage of his cross-country ride to make a real difference in the lives of people everywhere who are affected by lung cancer by generating awareness of the disease on his ride while raising funds for the National Lung Cancer Partnership

    For David, this was a journey of milestones. Last summer marked his sixtieth birthday and five years of clear CT scans.  The day that David began his cross-country journey was also the third anniversary of losing Kit to lung cancer. Now, he’s chasing another milestone: the elimination of lung cancer completely. “The best we can do is continue the research,” he says. With help from dedicated advocates like David, we’re pedaling closer to that ultimate goal of defeating lung cancer forever.

    You can read an account of David’s ride by visiting his journal at


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