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Cross-country cyclist stops in Tucson

Posted at 5:38 PM, Jan 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-30 19:38:27-05

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - It all started as a dream for Jake Haskett. 

"Driving in my car I was kind of like, "you know , I'm gonna ride my bike across the country this winter.""
 
That's when the wheels started turning. Jake is an avid Crossfit participant from a small town in Kansas. He's riding his bike across the country to raise money for two cancer patients close to him.
 
One of them is 18-month-old Benedict. He's suffering from Retinoblastoma, a cancer that caused him to lose his left eye. The other patient is 61-year-old Damaris. She's a mother of ten who is battling Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma for the second time. 
 
Jake is riding to raise awareness and $80,000 to help his friends with their medical costs. It's a 4,000 mile trip, and he's not even a frequent rider. 
 
"You know, I'm not a cyclist. I kind of just jumped on my bike and started going."
 
Jake started his journey on January 4th in Santa Cruz, California and he's pedaling all way the way to St. Augustine, Florida.
 
He's camping out in a sleeping bag and staying at Crossfit gyms along the way. Jake rides up to 100 miles a 
day, back to back to back. So what is it that keeps him going?
 
"What little pain and discomfort and whatever little thing that's bothering me during the day, I think about Benedict and Damaris. The pain I'm feeling is very temporary. They're dealing with that every day."
 
The cross-country trip is sending him through places he's never seen before and allowing him to meet a lot of people along the way.
 
His Saturday trip through Tucson is one he won't ever forget. 
 
"In the city of Tucson I was on the loop so I didn't really have to deal with any city traffic or anything to get here. So it's been great and the sunsets in Arizona are amazing."
 
Jake says so far, he's raised about $7,500 of his $80,000 goal. If you would like to make a donation, click here.