Cycling for Cancer

Local News

Mark Freeland and his family are no strangers to dealing with cancer. Christmas Eve of 2010 changed everything for their family, when they found out that Mark’s nephew Ben had something seriously wrong with him. It wouldn’t be until a series of tests were completed until they found out that he was living with a form of stage 4 inoperable brain cancer. Medulloblastoma, a form of brain cancer that begins in the cerebellum and often grows in the fourth ventricle of the brain. These tumors can spread, and in Ben’s case did, some of that tumor went to his lower spine. 

Ben went through treatments at Chapel Hill UNC in the pediatric Oncology wing for 6 months. Everything from chemo and radiation to even an experimental drug. After 6 months of intensive treatment Ben was cleared and told he was cancer free! 

Freeland began taking this 700 mile bike ride because of his nephew being diagnosed with cancer and him wanting to spread the word about childhood cancer to try and get people to donate money to charities that help children and their families dealing with cancer. 

“To spread the word out there more and for people to realize that childhood cancer doesn’t get enough acknowledgement, like breast cancer and all the others, a lot of kids have to deal with it and the expenses and everything, if people were just more aware of it and everything, it would just help out. Because cancer is tough for anybody to get, especially for kids.” Freeland says, and he would stop at nothing to reach this goal. There were several times in years past that the weather was terrible, and he would ask somewhere where he should go for a hotel, they offered him a ride and he refused. Freeland feels that if a child has to battle cancer then he can deal with a little discomfort to reach his goal.  If you’re interesting in following Freeland on his journey to and from North Carolina go join his Facebook page “Marks Great Adventure.”

Something special that Freeland and his wife said is that Chapel Hill UHC has a wall of heroes, this wall is dedicated to any child that beats any disease or cancer, and of course Ben has his own spot on that wall. The Freelands tell me the best way to help families dealing with children with cancer is to donate to any of the following charities, St. Baldrick’s Foundation, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, or even St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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