GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – The old saying goes that you can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes, but for the second year, an Eastern Carolina man is walking for 24 hours for a good cause that effects many people across the east.
Walking to honor and fundraise for loved ones and others fighting cancer in the east keeps Greg Parker putting one foot in front of the other. This is the second year he has taken his 24-hour good long walk.
“24 hours, the way I see it, if someone being treated for cancer can go through those treatments. then I can stay awake and do this for 24 hours,” said Parker.
Parker started “A good long walk” fundraiser for ECU Health Cancer Care last year to honor eight people close to him who were diagnosed with cancer. This year he tells WITN that they lost three of those original eight and 6 others in his life have been diagnosed with cancer.
“His passion and his wife’s Heidi’s passion on making sure they can do this event, I think it helps bring comfort to them and that they are not just helping their friends to honor them, but also helping people that they are never going to meet, but that live in Eastern North Carolina,” said Vidant Health Foundation Director of Development, Varessa Wall.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death behind heart disease in eastern Carolina, according to Wall. Just five years ago, she says the east had a 15% higher cancer mortality rate compared to the rest of the state. Now that percentage has dropped but Greg Parker wants eastern Carolina’s stat to be lower than the state’s average because he says cancer doesn’t discriminate.
SOT: Greg Parker
“A Good Long Walk” Founder
“Cancer touches everybody, ya know. It doesn’t care what color your skin is or how old you are. One of the six that was recently diagnosed was 1 year-old, um and one is 80,” said Parker. “So, case and point it doesn’t care. “
So, Parker will continue to walk for the years to come with two treadmills open next to him. One treadmill is open to the public and the second one is reserved for Greenville celebrities to come have a conversation and shine a light on how many people are affected by the life-altering disease.
“There’s no question in my mind that I’m going to continue to pursue it. It might look different in the future who knows,” said Parker.
But no question he’s never going to stop taking the steps to help those here in the east fighting cancer.
Last year, Parker walked 47 miles. If you would like to walk with him this year, he is walking at the Champions Health and Fitness in Greenville until 9 a.m. Sunday morning, or if you would like to donate, you can find information here.