PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Thursday kicks off the start of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and a local non-profit is hard at work making sure kids and families affected by cancer have the support they need.
“Ride for a Child” is a big fundraiser put on by Candlelighters, taking place this September. Bike riders got a chance to meet up with the kids ahead of the ride.
“When things are hard for me, I try my best — and if I feel like I’m not going to win I try to go faster and try to believe in myself,” Heaven Brooks says in just one of the video clips she sent to her team so they could know more about her.
Gregg and Mary Holt are a father-daughter duo that is part of Heaven’s team.
“I don’t actually like cycling — but I love the kids,” Gregg laughed.
Every year, Candlelighters has teams that ride in the Cycle Oregon Classic, with each team named after an honored child who has experienced cancer. The non-profit used the money raised to help families dealing with pediatric cancer.
“I think anything we do that can help make their lives brighter and easier is great so I think Candlelighters is just awesome,” Mary said.
Seven-year-old Heaven is a two-time cancer survivor from Kalama. Candlelighters has been a big part of her life, with her going to the Candlelighters camp and other events throughout the years that bring families together.
“It’s been a blessing to have everyone support me and stuff,” Heaven said.
Heaven was out on her scooter to meet some of the other kids and cyclists at the “Ride Out” event.
When the week-long Cycle Oregon Classic begins on September 10, the Ride for a Child teams will stay in touch with their honored kids, like heaven.
“I think it’s really kind of them because I know how it feels,” Heaven said. “It breaks my heart people have to go through it.”