DURHAM — Four years ago, JoAnn Gaddy Grimes rode the 50 miles from Greensboro to Durham alone. Today she was joined by dozens of volunteer riders who collected $150,000 just today.
That money will stay here in the Triangle to fund local cancer research projects.
She was greeted by dozens of friends and supporters as she finished her 50 mile trek from Greensboro to Duke University.
One hundred fifty volunteers crossed the finish line alongside her. A 10-year cancer survivor, Grimes says she is overwhelmed and awed by the way this event has grown.
"Only one penny of every $10 of our tax dollars, only one penny, goes for cancer research so these bikers are making an awesome difference.
Former WRAL anchor Charlie Gaddy is JoAnn's brother and was co-host of today's event. The money bikers raised today will go directly to the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center.
"We use that for really novel projects that we can't get funded through the National Cancer Institute and other ways." said Dr. Michael Colvin, head of the cancer center.
Volunteers say their inspiration for riding today comes from family and friends who've battled cancer. One of the team members that rode with us, his wife is currently battling cancer and we rode in her honor.
Dr. William G. Anlyan says that enthusiasm is contagious. The former head of Duke Medical Center turns 73 this month and he's recovering from open heart surgery. JoAnn talked him in to riding anyway.
"I ride a stationary bike every day for 25 minutes anyway, so she says, "Well, we'll put one on a truck and you can ride your bike," Anlyan said.
The bike ride has now raised more than half a million dollars over four years. They plan to do it again next fall.