Man Flies 33,000 Miles in Memory of Mom

33,000+ Miles in 29 Days To Raise Cancer AwarenessPlayDrew Lawrence
WATCH Man Flies 33,000 Miles in Memory of Mom

Some travelers fly around the country to sightsee, visit friends or hold business meetings.

Drew Lawrence plans to spend the next month flying more than 33,000 miles across the U.S. to spread awareness about cancer and honor his late mother.

"My biggest goal is to meet as many people as possible and talk to them," Lawrence told ABC News. "By sharing stories with other people we can make positive connections across the country to replace the negative ones."

The 28 year-old volunteer firefighter from Charlottesville, Va., plans to spend 29 days crisscrossing the country talking with individuals and groups. Lawrence is just the latest person to try something unique with Jetblue's$699 "All You Can Jet" unlimited travel pass.

Lawrence, 28, is calling the trip "29 Days Until 29 because he will be on the road for 29 days and just happens to turn 29 years old on the last day of the pass promotion: Oct. 6.

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One day he'll be in New York, then Boston, then New Orleans, then Los Angeles. Other stops on the whirlwind tour include Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago and dozens of other cities that JetBlue serves. Lawrence has a rough itinerary right now but assumes that he will juggle around flights as he learns of new experiences. That's half the fun after all.

"My hope is that as I meet new people and hear about new things, I will rearrange the schedule," he said.

Using JetBlue Pass to Fly Across America

When Lawrence was a senior in high school, his mother, Kathleen Wilson Lawrence, was diagnosed with brain cancer. She fought it but died 16 months later when Lawrence was a freshman at the University of Virginia, a school he choose to be close to his dying mother.

Kathleen Lawrence served as the Deputy Under Secretary of Agriculture during the Reagan administration and in several other government jobs.

"She was very accomplished in her professional career. But that's not how I knew her," Lawrence said. "I knew her as a mom who was always home for family dinner, never missed a school event, would go back into the office until one or two in the morning just to make sure she was home for dinner and to tuck me in."

On his trip, Lawrence said he hopes to visit some new cities on the West Coast and revisit a few special places, like San Francisco.

"My mom always loved San Francisco. I was only able to go once as a child. She loved the city. She loved the setting. She loved the view," Lawrence said, recalling a childhood family trip there. "That's going to be a special spot. It's one of the great memories I have of my mom."

There are plans along the way to meet a woman in San Francisco -- who he met through Twitter -- who also lost her mom to cancer. There's a 5K run in Seattle for a child with cancer. And then there are a host of concerts, festivals and sporting events. Lawrence's philosophy is that at these large public events "people expect to speak with strangers."

Like most young and savvy travelers, Lawrence will be documenting his trip on a special website and of course on Facebook and Twitter.

He's hoping all that social media will help him spread his message for more research dollars to fight cancer as well as some offers of a free couch to sleep on and possibly some corporate sponsorship, or at least a few free tickets to some events.

Lawrence, who works in sales and marketing for a local real estate construction company, said his boss loved the idea and gave him time off saying, "that's amazing, go after it."

Raising Awareness for Cancer

While his mom died of brain cancer, Lawrence said he wants to raise awareness for all types.

"Cancer is cancer, whether it be prostate, breast, lung, brain," he said. "They all deserve attention."

Along the way, he hopes to raise funds for the American Cancer Society.

Lawrence said that if he talks to 1,000 people on the trip and gets each to donate $10, then he's helped to raise $10,000. But he hopes to multiply that by "harnessing the power of social media" to inform "millions of people."

"My goal is to get people engaged," Lawrence said. "If we can get people engaged all the rest of the pieces fall into place."

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