Team Supernatural Rides to Conquer Cancer – Again

Last year, I interviewed Kevin Parks, Supernatural’s assistant director, as he prepared to go on a Ride to Conquer Cancer. With the help of the fans, Kevin was able to raise $10,000, $6,000 over his initial goal.

Now, Kevin is getting ready to ride again in honor of Kim Manners and others who have lost their lives to cancer and he’s looking to top last year’s donations. Less than a week into his quest, Team Supernatural already has more than $3,000 in the pot, but there’s still a long way to go.

If you loved the work of Kim Manners, if you’ve ever known anyone touched by this dreadful disease, make a donation. You won’t miss $10 out of your Paypal account, so pledge at least that much, but make it more if you can. This weekend, fans have paid large sums of money to see the Supernatural folks at the LA Con, that’s a great show of support. But let’s show them how generous this fandom really is, by pushing Team Supernatural up over that $10,000 goal.

Visit Team Supernatural’s Ride to Conquer Cancer page.

Now here’s last year’s interview with Kevin Parks.

If you watch TV shows from the 80’s and 90’s, chances are you’ve seen the work of Kim Manners. Kim’s first gig as a director was on an episode of Charlie’s Angels. From there he went to direct for more than thirty different TV shows before he hit his first big claim to fandom fame – The X-Files. As both a director and a producer, Kim had a huge influence on the feel of the show and it became the jewel in his crown. So much so that he pretty much retired when the show was done. But then Supernatural came along. The new spooky series for what was then The WB, had some similarities to The X-Files, including the Vancouver shooting location. With a very green creator at the helm and two young actors as the only recurring characters, execs new the show would benefit from an experienced hand. As Manners tells it, he was lured out of retirement in order to get the show off to a good start. He never expected to still be there three years later and he didn’t expect to become the cornerstone that he became.

At the beginning of the show’s fourth season, in 2008, Kim Manners was diagnosed with lung cancer. He kept it a secret from nearly everyone around him and he kept on working as long as he could. He succumbed to the illness in January 2009.

At the time, series creator Eric Kripke released this statement:

“Everyone at ‘Supernatural’ is walking around in a daze, shocked and absolutely devastated.  Kim was a brilliant director; more than that, he was a mentor and friend.  He was one of the patriarchs of the family, and we miss him desperately.  He gave so much to ‘Supernatural,’ and everything we do on the show, now and forever, is in memory of him.”

And that’s one of the reasons why Kevin Parks is going on the ride of his life next month, doing his part to help conquer the disease that took away his friend and mentor. Listen in as we talk with Kevin Parks about his upcoming ride.

Why did you sign up for the BC Cancer Foundation’s Ride to Conquer Cancer?

Parks: My participation in this year’s ride is in honour of Kim Manners.  He was not only one of our Executive Producers and directors, but he was also a friend.  I had worked with Kim on The X-Files as well Supernatural where we became friends. As the year went on, more people that we worked with were passing away from cancer and then my aunt found out that she had terminal bone cancer.  In addition to Kim, I wanted to do this years ride to help anybody that could beat this disease.

You’re Team Supernatural – can you tell us about the Supernatural connection and how the fans have helped your efforts.

Parks: My wife, Jill and I are Team Supernatural.  I am riding and she is volunteering.  I have been with Supernatural since the very 1st episode, Season 1 in Vancouver as one of the 1st Asst. Directors.  Jill has worked freelance on the show, since Season 1 when we are in need of extra camera crew.  When we both decided to be part of the ride, and in honour of Kim Manners, we chose Team Supernatural as our name, with the support and encouragement from our producers, crew, fans and friends.  The fans have been great with their support of the us and the ride.  With just the fans support we raised $2500.00, the minimum amount of money needed to participate.  Now, we are about to surpass $8000 with the ride still a month away.  We can not thank the fans enough for their support.

The course seems pretty extensive. Can you tell us a bit about the where the journey will take you.

Parks:  The ride is a two day ride from Vancouver to Seattle.  There are 2500 registered riders, and a team of volunteers (medical, mechanical, caterers etc).  The 1st day we ride around 110km and the 2nd day we ride about 105km. The route makes it’s way from the farming suburbs of Vancouver,  through scenic western Washington to the town of Mount Vernon. Everyone overnights either at the camp set up by volunteers, or in hotels.  The 2nd day takes the riders into the University of Washington to finish and then everyone ( riders and volunteers ) are bused back to the start line.

How have you been preparing for the ride?

Parks: I cycle to work when I am prepping and not on set, which is a commute of around 40km total.  As well as, I ski during the winter to keep active on days where cycling is not possible. To build up the endurance for the ride, I have been getting out on my road bike to get longer distances at least 3 to 4 times a week. I have been doing a blog on my home page for the ride, if you want to read about the training.

I think many people don’t participate in things like this because they don’t want to think about cancer. What are your thoughts on that?

Parks: Until someone is personally  affected by cancer, it is human nature to not want think about these diseases and how their life might be affected if it happened to them.  Getting involved with events like this, allows everyone to learn about people and their triumphs and tragedies that have happened because of Cancer.  It can be very emotional.  I think everyone needs to be ready to part take in an event like this or other causes and only that person will know when they are ready. In the end, people will save people and it is events like this that will help in that journey.

If you’d like to contribute to Team Supernatural, visit Kevin Parks’ page on the Ride to Conquer Cancer website. Let’s help him achieve that $8,000 goal and then some.

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