NewsPositively Hampton Roads


Local cyclist completes ride of a lifetime to raise awareness about organ donation

Posted at 5:35 PM, Oct 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-22 18:08:58-04

YORKTOWN, Va. – Local cyclist John Spencer just completed the ride of a lifetime.

Seven years ago, the 65-year-old was in the final stages of cirrhosis when his daughter, Kara, was medically approved to give him half of her liver. Undergoing surgery in January 2013, it was a success.

Spencer says Kara had no complications other than a “nasty scar,” and he is now doing  “phenomenally well” after a lengthy recovery.

From a young age, Spencer had a desire to bicycle coast to coast. However, he says with life’s responsibilities and his sickness, he believed it was a long-lost dream.

Motivated by the fact that he’s still around and his desire to do more from what he’d been given, he started training, determined to complete his ride as a fundraiser for LifeNet Health for organ donation research.

Spencer left Yorktown on May 1, zigzagging his way through multiple states and ending his journey just north of Seattle – 102 days and 5,184 miles later. He says he befriended more than 30 complete strangers – many of whom donated to his cause – who offered him meals and a place to stay.

Related: Sentara nurse with HIV saves stranger’s life by donating kidney

His goal was to raise $1 a mile. So far, he’s raised $3,422 of his desired $5,184.

Spencer is an advocate and presenter for LifeNet, sharing his story and encouraging organ donor registration to Virginia Beach high school students. He gave a presentation at Landstown High School on October 10 and October 11. After wrapping up at Kellam High School on October 22, he will give his next presentation at Salem High School on November 14 and 15.

Click here to learn more about Spencer’s cross-country endeavor and to donate to his cause.