Luke Strong Ride raises nearly $9,000

PHOTO PROVIDED Penny Parks-Dean and her husband, Ken, have raised nearly $9,000 through their Luke Strong Ride.



JERSEY SHORE — The ride may be over, but the fundraising certainly isn’t.

On Aug. 31, Penny Parks-Dean and Ken Parks completed their Luke Strong Ride. The 125-mile bike trek began at 5 a.m. and wrapped up a little after 6 p.m. To date, the ride has raised nearly $9,000, according to Penny.

“The support we have received is incredible,” she said. “We had perfect riding weather last Saturday. (We) couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

Parks said that the first part of the trek took place in the darkness because the sun had not yet risen.

“(It) was challenging, but we acclimated and kept a decent pace considering that we couldn’t see more than 10 feet ahead on the trail with the bike headlights,” she said.

And although the trek was tricky, Parks-Dean said that she and her husband had an amazing support team helping them throughout the day.

“We had incredible support from Pastor and Karen Aucker — they met up with us intermittently along the trail providing food, drinks and moral support. They are the best support crew,” Parks said.

According to Parks-Dean, the hardest part of the trek down the homestretch.

“We each put in our earbuds and let the music take us down the trail. Music always makes the miles fly by more quickly,” Parks said.

The couple was riding for Luke Antolick. At three months of age, Luke had a near-SIDS event that resulted in a brain injury and left him with a form of Cerebral Palsy. Over the years, Parks-Dean said, Luke has received a number of stem cell transfusions. Those have resulted in tremendous progress. The cost of stem cell procedures is staggering. According to Parks-Dean, the cost is more than $6,500. That’s not including flights and lodging expenses.

Fundraising for Luke began in 2014.

“We are so honored to be able to do this ride for Luke and his family. We truly hope that our efforts to make a difference in the world will inspire others to find a way to also make a difference,” Parks-Dean said.

It’s not too late to contribute to the cause. Email PennyP582003@yahoo.com to make a donation or for more information about the Parks-Dean Team.

Alternately, donations can also be mailed in to 8 N. Dickinson School Road, Carlisle, PA 17015.