Life after Cancer: Survivor Rides from Brighton to Florida to Raise Money for Local Cancer Center
Brighton resident Dennis Cuffe began his 1,300 bike ride early Saturday morning while his girlfriend, Susan Parrish of Hartland, remains behind to raise money and awareness.
"Florida or Bust" - that's how the sign on the back of Brighton resident's Dennis Cuffe's bicycle reads.
Just three months after his Renal Cell Carcinoma (kidney cancer) surgery, Cuffe began a 1,300 mile bike journey from Brighton to Cape Coral, FL in order to raise money for the St. Joseph Mercy Cancer Center - the very place that treated him.
"They're the place that found my cancer," he said. "They're the ones that helped me out the most. They did everything other than the surgery itself."
The surgery was performed by the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor.
Cuffe will raise the money through donations and pledges from people as well as local businesses. His girlfriend, Susan Parrish of Hartland is handling the fundraising while Cuffe is traveling.
Parrish, who has already raised about $1,000, will be at Town and Country Bikes on Saturday holding a bottle drive, raffle drawing and asking for donations. She is currently working to schedule more events with local businesses. She said her personal goal is to raise $8,000 for Cuffe's cause.
Those interested in helping can send donations by through paypal on Cuffe's website. Once dontations are received the donor's name or business name is added to the list.
Cuffe said he chose Florida because he knows people living there. The trip could take him anywhere from two weeks to a month depending on weather. Cuffe said he plans to ride about 100 miles per day.
"I didn't want to wait until next year," Cuffe said, after acknowledging the weather could delay his progress. "I knew I needed the time for training because I wasn't used to riding. When I first started - a mile seemed like forever. Now I'm prepared as I've ever been. I can get on my bike and do 100 miles."
Cuffe left early Saturday morning from the hospital after a send off from Parrish and other family and friends.
"This is just so remarkable," Parrish said. "I'm ever so proud of him. He is taking on something that even the healthiest person never would. Just for others. He is quite a man and inspiration to others."
That first day, he rode 120 miles before stopping in Bowling Green, OH. Cuffe rode an addition 102 miles on Sunday and stopped in Springfield, OH.
"He called last night said he was feeling good, but hungry and he was heading to bed," Parrish said. "He has gotten call outs from passing cars. One wrote on his guestbook because they passed him and read his sign so they posted where they had past him at."
Cuffe is wearing a GPS for people to track him through his website, MI2FL.