SPRING HILL — Derek Buckridge is a man on a mission.
Buckridge, who lives in Spring Hill, is riding his bicycle for a cause this month. He had taken on a 300-mile challenge in the Great Cycling Challenge USA to raise money and awareness for Children’s Cancer Research.
This is the fifth year for the ride and third time for Burkridge.
In just four years more than 153,000 cyclists from 50 states have ridden more than 12 million miles, raising more than $16 million for research and better development of treatments for childhood cancer.
This year, the Great Cycle Challenge USA has more than 50,000 riders looking to raise more than $8.2 million.
After losing his grandparents to cancer, Buckridge heard about the Great Cycle Challenge USA and wanted to be part of it.
More than 150,000 children in America are diagnosed with cancer every year. Thirty-eight children die every week, said John Hallberg, Chief Executive Officer at Children’s Cancer Research Fund.
“Thanks to riders like Derek, we are fueling groundbreaking research to save lives and give kids the brighter future they deserve,” Hallberg said.
Buckridge rode 726 miles the last two years, raising $9,641.73. This year his goal is to ride 300 miles this month and raise more than $5,000.
“The kids cancers are not getting the attention, money and research that adult cancers are,” Buckridge said. “This ride is not just about raising money for children’s cancer research, it is about raising awareness.”
Buckridge was named one of the Great Cycle Challenge USA Heroes this year.
“I was honored to be named one of the Heroes,” Buckridge said. “There are 75,000 riders and less than 100 are selected for this honor.”
Buckridge played high school sports for the Spring Hill Broncos.
He took up cycling about six years ago. Buckridge has ridden in Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, Arkansas and Kansas.
He competes in mountain bike endurance rides. When he heard about the Great Cycle Challenge USA, Buckridge decided to use his love for cycling to aid a cause near and dear to his heart.
When he was in high school, Buckridge was challenged to volunteer, to give back to make a difference by Lynda Jochims.
“She instilled in me that volunteering and giving back is the way to a better life for everyone,” he said. “She led out volunteering club in high school. By giving back, she said we could change the world.”
Burkridge works for MTD Electric in Spring Hill.
The business has been very supportive of the Great Cycle Challenge USA and Derek’s schedule in June. The business has also matched fundraising efforts by Buckridge and challenged to do the same.
June is also a tough month on his family as he pedals his way to the 300-mile goal for children’s cancer research.
Derek and Mariah Buckridge have a son named Kale.
“They are my biggest supporters,” he said. “My wife knows I had miles to ride for cancer research and is totally behind me.”
To learn more about Derek’s Great Cycle Challenge USA and make a donation, visit greatcyclechallenge.com/Riders/DerekBuckridge.