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'It's been a crazy ride' | Bike to Beat Cancer just a start for local survivor

Ben Smith has biked with the charity for years, but for the first time, he's riding as a survivor.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Whether you're cycling in your living room or pedaling through the streets of your hometown, it's time to kick cancer to the curb.

Norton's annual Bike to Beat Cancer is Sept. 12, with a goal of raising half a million dollars for the Norton Cancer Institute.

Ben Smith has biked with the charity for years, but this year, he's riding as a survivor.

"When you're facing something like this, it's a little bit of a gift," said Smith. "It brings things into focus. You see things through a different lens."

Doctors removed a golf ball-sized tumor from his brain back in June and he's undergone chemo and radiation to make sure he's fully beaten the disease. He was even hit with COVID-19 in the process, but nothing has slowed him down.

Smith is part of a group that plans to ride through Cherokee and Seneca Park Saturday, having raised close to $10,000 for the cause.

"There's a lot of people out there who are very public about their fight," said Smith. "There's many who aren't. So we ride for them. We ride for people who fought the battle and lost it."

Credit: Ben Smith

As of Friday morning, Norton had already raised more than $359,000 for this year's Bike to Beat Cancer.

Friday, Norton Healthcare will host a Celebration of Courage car parade. It will run from Norton Cancer Institute off Brownsboro through Norton Commons beginning at 7 p.m.

The main event kicks off Saturday at 7 a.m. 

You can choose to complete your miles from home, the gym, your neighborhood or one of four fully-marked routes throughout Greater Louisville. 

Registration is free for cancer survivors. It's $10 for those who choose to ride from home or $50 if you want to take advantage of a marked route.

Bike to Beat Cancer Q&A

What is the Bike to Beat Cancer? 

Bike to Beat Cancer is Norton Healthcare’s annual community cycling event that raises funds for the Norton Cancer Institute, through the Norton Healthcare Foundation. 

These funds support people right here in our community who are fighting cancer—both adult and pediatric patients.

Due to COVID-19, Norton Healthcare made the decision to cancel the in-person event this year, which many people look forward to. 

This decision was made in an effort to keep their patients, staff, the participants of this event and community, as a whole, safe.

Without an in-person event this year, how are people participating? 

In lieu of an in-person event, this year they transitioned to a “ride on your own, but together in spirit” event. Riders can choose to complete their miles from home, the gym, neighborhoods or one of four fully-marked routes throughout Greater Louisville.

The routes are located in southern Indiana, Cherokee/Seneca Park, Middletown and East Louisville. Routes will be marked from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Route details can be found, here.

There will be socially distanced “fuel stops” throughout the routes, in which pre-packaged drinks and snacks will be provided from 8 a.m. to noon.

How much is registration? 

Registration is $10 per person, for those who choose to ride from home. For riders who choose to take advantage of one of our four fully marked routes, registration is $50. Registration is free for cancer survivors.

Donations are encouraged by Norton Healthcare. If donors raise $100, you get a t-shirt. If you raise $300, you’ll be awarded with a Bike to Beat Cancer jersey.

What will the funds benefit? 

The funds benefit Norton Cancer Institute. Participants have the option to allocate where funds will go. 

For example, if they’ve been touched by breast cancer—they can allocate their funds to breast health. There are many options to choose from.

Is it too late to get involved? 

It certainly is not! Fundraising ends on Saturday, Sept. 12, but it’s not too late to sign up for the event! You can even register day-of. There are options for every fitness level—from 1 mile to even 100 miles—it’s your choice!

What is the Celebration of Courage

Celebration of Courage is the annual pre-Bike to Beat Cancer event, in which we honor those touched by cancer. 

Traditionally, this event has looked like a big block party, but due to COVID-19, Norton Healthcare got creative. In lieu of the in-person event, a car parade will run from Norton Cancer Institute- Brownsboro through Norton Commons.

Norton Healthcare encourages people who’ve been touched by cancer in our community to join us for the car parade on Friday, Sept. 11. 

Decorate your car and join us at 6:30 p.m. at Norton Cancer Institute. The car parade line will form around 7 p.m. 

►Contact reporter Brooke Hasch at bhasch@whas11.com. Follow her on Twitter (@WHAS11Hasch) and Facebook. 

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