Dave Cawdrey: A life without fear

Dave Cawdrey: A life without fear

Dave Cawdrey was a former pro skateboarder in Seattle during the 90’s. I didn’t get to the Pacific Northwest until late 1998 so I never really heard about him, but maybe you have. Dave is now living out the rest of his brief life in Bend Oregon. I say “brief” because he suffers from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). This Seattle Times article is a long, sad but good read about his life before and after diagnosis in 2000. Skateboarding is a recurring element in the story. Dave’s physical deterioration contrasts the physical development of one of his sons, who has taken up skateboarding. It’s an atypically poignant case of a father living vicariously through his son. It’s a tear jerker for sure. After reading about Dave and his family’s situation, it makes me want to puke when I see guys like this that think they have it bad and want to have everything handed to them on a silver platter.

“Reggie” wants people to give him money so he can start his “skateboard clothing” company. Skateboard clothing? Maybe he wants to make shorts with hip pads… Reggie has signed up on a site called Robinhood Fund. Basically, you tell them how much money you want ( Reggie wants $22,000 ) and what you want it for, then the “community” votes on who gets paid. I’m not sure how or if the Robinhood Fund is actually funded. here’s a few choice quotes from Reggie’s plea:

Currently right now i am attempting to get a skateboard clothing company off the ground, i have alot of love and support from everyone who is in the know and also many skate shops waiting to carry my line in the coming summer.

It’s quite difficult trying to cover the cost of business while having to pay off my student loans, on top of all the stress i still think back everyday and wish i never took these student loans to pay for school and just invested this money into the company.

Word had been spreading like wildfire and my clothing is in high demand….the love i have for this company is the love i have always had for skateboarding and i have realized that this is my calling, this is what i want my carrer [sic] to be.

If you are going to ask people for $22,000, at least take the trouble to spell “career” right. Reggie is bummed becasue he has a $30,000 student loan to pay off for a private school he feels ripped him off. For some reason he can’t start his company, even though his clothing is in “high demand.” Waaah! Give me a break. This guy reminds me of another whiner. Hey Reggie, if you get the grant and start your clothing line that is in such high demand, make sure you donate some of those profits to Dave’s kids so they can pay for the medical costs involved with watching their father slowly die in front them.

Sure, I’m being a bit hard on Reggie. It’s probably a coping mechanism in reaction to Dave Cawdrey’s story. If you know or knew Dave Cawdrey, you’d do well to try and let him and his family know what he meant to you now, while he is still with them.


  1. I worked in a smoke shop, and my boss there lost her son and her husband to ALS. There’s a fundraiser in downtown Portland every year in September called Walk to D’Feet ALS. That’s not to say that anyone should wait until September to appreciate that they can walk, or skate, or talk, or be able to exist anywhere outside of their skull, though. It’s an awful, wretched thing to have happen to anyone.

  2. ann nygaard on March 1, 2007 - Reply

    I was extremely moved by the seattle times story about
    Dave Cawdrey. He is about the age my skateboarding son
    would be if he had made better choices in his life. He
    started skateboarding at a very young age. We spent alot
    of times seeing docs from various injuries from the sport. He passed on January 18, 2004. I wish Dave a
    peaceful passing and glad he married and had two wonderful children to share his final days. Even though
    I have not had the chance to meet you you will be in
    my prayers and thoughts. I thank The Times for this
    wonderful look into Dave’s life. Thanks

  3. Wow. Thats a sad story.

  4. JAKEANDANNOY on February 24, 2008 - Reply

    Thanks, Kilwag. That was incredibly hard to finish and I just want to say to Dave that he has lived his life very admirably in my opinion and that everyone who knows him must love and respect who he is and that I could only hope to be the same kind of man and father he has been under these circumstances.
    I appreciate him and his family sharing their story, my prayers go out to them.

  5. Ryan Thornton on January 26, 2009 - Reply

    I knew Dave while he lived in Fayetteville, AR. He always seemed to make life what he wanted it to be. It kills me to see him like he is, but he is going out his way. I hope that is how is always remembered. I hope that those around him and his family receive the support and strength they need to endure this time in their lives. God bless you Dave.

  6. dave doesn’t live in bend Oregon, never has, he’s in north bend Washington. Last I spoke to them (dave doesn’t speak any more) he and his wife had decided to get off hospice care and look toward the future, you can live a long time on a respirator. Dave was meeting with a speech therapist to help him learn new means of communication.

  7. Dave was a friend of mine many years ago in Arkansas. I only recently learned of his illness. Does anyone have any current info? The rumour is that he has passed away, but I can’t find any confirmation, obituary, memorial, etc. Dave was quite a special guy. It’s heartbreaking that his life is ending this way, but at least he really lived. He’s an inspiration and I’m proud to know him.

    • Dave Cawdrey on January 28, 2011 - Reply

      I’m alive and kicking!! Thank you to everyone that left a comment. If you want to reach me email me at dkcawdrey@msn.com. I am also on Facebook. I can’t talk but you can call me at 425 883 0081 and I can talk through someone else communicating back and forth.
      Thank you,
      Dave Cawdrey ….still alive!

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