A man bicycling across the country hopes his stop in Tulsa will help people who are dealing with the impacts of addiction.
Dave Cooke is on a mission, and Saturday marks four weeks of riding his bike on Route 66. He's traveling from Santa Monica, California, to New York City.
"It's about a 3600-mile venture,” he said.
Tulsa marks his halfway point, and he stopped for the third annual Overdose Awareness Walk and Ride.
Cooke said his son made him familiar with the impacts of addiction.
"He's been battling a heroin addiction for nine years,” he said. “I know what addiction does to moms and dads."
He's made it his mission to share what he's learned with other parents in every stop he makes across the country.
"Every parent has a story. And while our story [and] our personal experiences have some differences, they're strikingly similar,” he said.
He says over the years, he's a learned how to approach his relationship with his son in a positive way.
"Knowing that they've disappointed their parents is something that most kids can't live with, so if I’m communicating with my son from a place of failure, then that's what he's going to feel when he talks to me,” Cooke said. “When I communicate with my son from a place of love and encouragement and constant hope, that's what he walks away with."
Patricia Hall with First Presbyterian Church helped organize the event and said the amount of people who attended this year’s run has tripled to about 75 since the first run two years ago.
"This is important to get the word out and be open and honest about this terrible disease," she said.
The Coalition Against Prescription and Substance of Tulsa and the Partnerships for Success program of the Tulsa Health Department also sponsored the event.
Cooke plans to visit other similar events across the country on his trip.
"I just want to make sure that I share my lessons and my experiences of my journey to help others,” he said.
Cooke will be in St. Louis by next weekend. To follow his trip, visit his Facebook page.
The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services said in 2014 Oklahoma ranked 9th in the nation for overdose deaths involving opioid pain relievers.