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Making a difference, one pedal at a time
When James Rienstra’s father passed away just six months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and just one month away from retirement, James knew he had to do something to try to fight the helplessness he felt. A former professional BMX biker, James decided to meld his passion for biking into raising money for cancer research.
The best vacation he’d ever been on was a trip with his father to Alaska, shortly before his father began his battle with cancer. James decided there was no better way to honor his father’s memory than to make Alaska his destination.
He kicked off his trip on May 20 with a community celebration in his hometown of Zimmerman. Friends rode and camped out with James for the first few days, up until he reached Bismarck, ND. From there he’s traveling solo, carrying all his gear in a 70-lb pack. He’s hoping to bike at a pace of 12-13 mph, averaging 70 miles a day. That would mean he should finish his 2,400-mile trip in about 70 days.
100 percent of the money raised will go to the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund. He chose the organization because Randy’s been through his own cancer struggle, and he wanted all the money raised to stay in Minnesota.
He’s embarking on this challenge to honor his father and all those who have been affected by cancer. “It’s a way to vent about my dad’s death. I hope to be able to find some closure once I reach Alaska,” James said.