Speck’s Campaign Reaches Quarter-Million Mark

Speck Mellencamp’s much-publicized "1,000,000 to join, my dad john mellencamp will quit smoking" effort to persuade his dad to quit smoking is one-fourth of the way home.

Speck’s special Facebook page picked up its 250,000th signee Friday, and at last count was at 253,782. While he still has a long way to go, it’s a remarkable achievement in the three weeks since the campaign began.

“I didn’t think it would catch on the way it has,” Speck told Mellencamp.com back on Dec. 3. “I’d been asking Dad to quit for a long time, and saw how people were using Facebook to raise awareness of things like HIV and cancer research and got the idea to use it myself.”

He had his father’s blessing from the beginning.

“Speck is doing this to try to persuade me to stop smoking, and I look at it as a huge act of love on his behalf,” John told Mellencamp.com last week. “He’s a big dreamer, and I hope that someday he’ll use his dream to benefit his world in some fashion.”

Speck has been interviewed on NPR, and his campaign has generated enormous media coverage extending from the local Indianapolis Star to international outlets in places including Germany and the Czech Republic. But it has also received heartfelt response on both his and his father’s Facebook pages.

“John you have some of the best music ever and I know it’s hard to quit but you got to try for all the people that love your music,” wrote Jaden Clark on John’s page.

“I have been a forever fan of John’s,” related Denise Lazzara, also on John's page. “His music has played major roles in my life. When I heard this I jumped on the wagon. Hope all his fans and many more will join in. But it should not have to take that many to realize how important it is to your health to quit. It is hard to quit. I am an ex-smoker and have been free for 15 years.”

Barb Peters likewise shared on Speck’s page: “I had my first smoke at 11 and had been smoking for the better part of the last 38 years so I know how hard it is but using the patch I've now been smoke-free for over 3 months and counting. I feel great!!! Come on John you can do it too!”

Any concern that John might not hold up his end of the bargain was put to rest by Speck’s mother Elaine Irwin-Mellencamp, who told examiner.com that her husband had actually begun cutting back on his cigarette intake when Speck’s campaign reached 100,000 signatures.

“I don’t think any kid likes to see a parent smoking,” she said, adding: “It’s always inspiring when people build a true grassroots movement, and when a 14 year-old kid does it, it’s all the more charming. It’s become a story of applying yourself and making a difference, and I’m really proud of him for having that experience.”

Visit the Facebook Group to sign up.