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Cooper will bike to fight cancer

Prince Edward County resident Taikein Cooper is planning to ride 500 miles on his bicycle this month to raise money to help fight pediatric cancer.

Cooper said he was invited to participate in the Great Cycle Challenge — an organization working to fight pediatric cancer.

“I’m a pretty new cyclist. I’ve only been riding for about a year now,” Cooper said. “But, I thought it was a great cause and was something that I feel passionate about. I’ve definitely encountered a number of young people that are fighting cancer.”

Cooper said he’d devote time and effort to do his part.

“So, my goal was to raise $500 and to ride 500 miles in the month of June,” Cooper said.

As of Wednesday, Cooper has raised more than $800 on the Great Cycle Challenge website and is working on raising funds for the U.Va. Children’s Hospital. Cooper said his goal is to raise another $500.

U.Va. Children’s Hospital Associate Director of Development Ryan Lightner said the hospital relies on support from members of the community to ensure it provides the best health care for the children across Central Virginia.

“The money that Taikein is raising will help provide research on pediatric cancer so that we can continue to offer second chances to those battling this terrible disease,” Lightner said.

Cooper intends to have other people ride with him periodically.

“I plan to ride the Capitol Trail from Richmond to Williamsburg, but my rides will mostly be in Central Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina,” Cooper said.

He said he’ll write a blog about his journey during the month as well as use his GoPro to record his rides and to “hopefully interview some people as well.”

“I’m really trying to incorporate as many people as possible. Anyone that wants to ride with me — they’re more than welcome,” Cooper said. “I’m happy to ride with them at their pace. I’m really trying to be as creative and as inclusive as possible.”

“As a survivor of heart disease — and I was first diagnosed with heart disease when I was 15 — I can definitely attest to some of the significant illnesses and the impact it can have on life as a teenager and as a juvenile,” Cooper said.