Man with brain cancer crosses country on bike

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by Sybil Hoffman

azfamily.com

Posted on June 21, 2013 at 11:15 AM

PHOENIX -- Taking a road trip across the country is grueling, but imagine biking the 3,000-mile trek. One Valley man is taking that challenge while also fighting cancer.

Cycling hasn't always been a passion for 19-year-old Kyle Claffey.

"I really started biking when I started helping out here, which is almost four and a half years ago," he said.

But in those four and a half years, Claffey has enduring more hardships than most people his age. He's fought three bouts with brain cancer. His first diagnosis came without warning.

"Well at first, my heart just stopped," he said. "I didn't know what to do."

Chemotherapy is now a regular routine for Claffey. Instead of letting his cancer crush his dreams, Claffey is on a crusade.

"When you're pushing for a goal that you like so much, there is nothing that can stop you," he said.

That goal is racing across America, which is known as RAAM.

"Every cyclist has a bucket list, most of the time RAAM ride is definitely on it," Claffey said.

Jory Greenfield is taking the challenge with Claffey.

"Three thousand miles on your own, it will be tougher than the Tour de France," Greenfield said.

Completing such a race will be a challenge as Claffey has been getting regular chemo treatments, which have taken their toll on his body.

"There's going to be times when I'm going to be like, wow this is going to be really hard," he said. "Right now I wake up and I do not want to get up at all. I'm just so worn out from everything."

The rigorous race begins in Oceanside, Calif., and will take cyclists to Annapolis, Md.

"Not many people get the opportunity to participate in this kind of event and our goal time is somewhere around six and a half days, we're really hoping we get some good weather through the plains and the Midwest," Greenfield said.

So far they've been able to raise more than $100,000 for Barrow Neurological Institute to help other cancer survivors.

"They're pretty much the reason why I'm still alive," Claffey said.

While Claffey is nervous, he knows this race is the opportunity of a lifetime.

"It's going to be a really fun time coming back and having all those memories and stories that we'll be able to share," he said. "It's going to be a good, good time."
 

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