A young boy embarked on a big task this week, taking to two wheels to bike across the country.
And just as big as this goal are his hopes to help children with cancer.
Nine-year-old CJ Burford tightened his helmet, checked his tire pressure and hit the road in Oceanside Monday on a 73-day journey from California to Saint Augustine, Florida.
“God gave me a dream when I was five,” said CJ. “He told me to ride my bike for him.”
Since then, he’s been asking his parents for the chance to do a long-term trek. At first faced with denials, CJ wore his parents down, and they conceded to short rides.
What started as biking across his home county in North Carolina soon turned into two trips across the state. Over the past two years, he has ridden over 1,000 miles and raised more than $17,000 for charities that help sick children, according to his website.
Now, CJ is cycling 3,000 miles in an effort to raise $100,000 for the National Children’s Cancer Society. He even had “NCCS” cut into his hair.
“So I believe serving others is ultimately serving [God],” said CJ.
He has the full support of his four siblings and his parents, who will be living out of a bus as they follow CJ and his father on the road.
But the conscientious parents aren’t letting their kids fall behind in education, even as they gain life experience.
CJ’s mother, Katie, will be home schooling the kids over the semester, so the young cyclist will be slipping in some homework as he takes breaks to eat and sleep.
“I'm just a tad overwhelmed at the moment. Excited for him. It's going to be fun,” said Katie.
Once he’s finished with this trek, CJ’s next goal is another cross-country journey – this time across the north end of the country.