After running his first marathon last November, former Middlesboro High School graduate David Chedester pushed himself beyond personal limits again.
In mid-May Chedester, along with 19 other members of Team Fox, hiked the Grand Canyon in one day to raise money for Parkinson’s Disease research.
Chedester was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 27, but was determined that this diagnosis would not force him to change his goals.
“I had no clue how scary the hike was going to be until my first 10 steps. From the top, you cannot see that it is a straight drop down from the trail. One slip, one wrong step, and you are going to fall 6,000 feet down — not something you’re going to survive,” said Chedester.
After nearly 26 miles of hiking over 12 hours in 110 degree heat, Chedester nearly collapsed at the end. He acknowledges his team, park rangers and other hikers who assisted him towards the end of the hike.
An estimated 780 people have died doing the exact same hike Chedester and Team Fox did.
“The views we had during the hike were nothing less than amazing. Each turn you go around, each step you take, you see parts of the Grand Canyon that are unexplainable. It’s hard to imagine how beautiful it is, until you hike the entire thing,” said Chedester.
Because of his hiking efforts, Chedester raised nearly $9,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for the Rim 2 Rim Grand Canyon challenge.
Chedester said he believes it is time for a break after the hike before he begins preparing for his next physical challenge.
“I’m not sure at this point, but my dream has been to become an Ironman. That’s a 2.4- mile swim in the ocean, followed by a 112-mile bike ride, then topped off with a 26.2-mile run. If not that, then I might just hike Mount Kilimanjaro,” said Chedester.