Keith Davis is ready to do his part to end cancer.
The 50-year-old Henderson resident pledged to complete a bike ride from Las Vegas to Dallas in hopes of raising $10,000 and awareness about the disease. He plans to start June 13.
“I’m doing this in honor of my niece Holland (Young),” he said. “I enjoy cycling, so I thought I could turn it into a fundraiser.”
Cancer has touched Davis’ family periodically throughout his life.
“It has definitely made our children, my children, more aware of cancer,” he said. “Everyone is more conscious.”
Davis’ mother died of pancreatic cancer eight years ago.
Last year, his 4-year-old niece died of brain cancer.
“She had a tumor on her brain,” said Bryan Young, the girl’s father. “They removed it, but it mutated onto another one.”
They removed the second tumor, but another tumor grew in its place.
Before she died, Davis brainstormed a way to help cover some of the medical bills the family had accumulated.
His thought was to used his hobby of bicycling.
Davis has been an avid bicyclist for five years after he tried a triathlon.
“I loved the biking, but I hated the running,” he said.
The more he would ride, the farther he’d go.
“Last year I did a double century for my 50th birthday,” he said.
Holland died in August 2013 before Davis could do the fundraiser. Now, he is hoping to raise money for cancer research.
He is close to raising $4,000 and hopes to have a substantial portion raised by the time he leaves.
“I hope to reach the full goal by July 1,” he added.
Although his niece was in a children’s hospital in Utah, he likes the concept of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital focusing on care as well as research.
Young said it’s important that more funding goes into cancer research.
“People talk as though with chemotherapy, we can get cancer under control,” he said. “It is still a lot of guesswork.”
No matter how much Davis is able to raise, Young said this event is able to raise hope for other families going through similar struggles.
“Every person Keith is able to talk to is another life Holland is able to touch,” Young said.
Davis has learned a lot in his training process.
As far as being a bicyclist, he has learned how to train harder.
“You have to get out there and ride every day,” Davis said. “I have changed my eating habits. I’ve learned what I need to eat to replenish my energy since I’ll be expending around 1,500 calories a day.”
He usually rides about 50 miles per day during the week and up to 150 on the weekends.
If completed, this will be his longest ride to date.
“I’ll be averaging about 120 miles per day,” Davis said. “I anticipate it will take me 10 days to complete. It will be a challenge, but it will be fun.”
He said for him it’s no problem doing a 120-mile ride.
“It’s getting up and doing it again and again that might be difficult,” he said.
Along the way he plans to spread the news about cancer and the importance of research.
There are still many unknowns ahead for Davis.
The terrain is different. The hot weather is likely to be overwhelming at times.
However, his wife and daughter will be there cheering him on along the way.
“They will drive up 30 miles and sit and wait for me,” he said. “Then they will drive ahead at the end of the day to grab a hotel room.”
As Davis plans his ride, he also faces the fact that his sister is now dealing with cancer.
“She is going through chemo now,” he said.
What will keep him on the bicycle, he said, is the thought of contributing to research that could save lives.
“It’s worth it to potentially contribute to the cause that saves one child or one human,” he said.
For more information, visit gofundme.com/hollandsheroes.
Contact Henderson View reporter Michael Lyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5201.