LACONA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Doing anything for 24 consecutive hours is difficult, but riding your bike through a forest for that long seems unfathomable. However, at the age of 61, Patrick McFalls of Pennellville, New York did just that, in an effort to raise money for his grandson who is battling leukemia.
At 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 22, Pat McFalls hopped on his bike knowing that he wouldn’t stop pedaling for 24 hours.
McFalls says he’s an avid ultra-endurance athlete, but this challenge meant a little extra to the 61-year-old grandfather. His two-year-old grandson Soren, who lives in Vermont, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia back in June, and their family needs assistance paying for the treatments.
To help pay for the treatments, Pat McFalls decided to organize a 24-hour bike ride challenge through Winona State Forest.
So from 10 a.m. on Saturday until 10 a.m. on Sunday, Pat McFalls rode his bike around a predetermined trail totaling 152.58 miles.
During the ride, McFalls gained around 11,000 feet of elevation. At the start, McFalls said he was completing laps in about one hour and 40 minutes, but around midnight he started struggling with hydration and digestive issues. Due to his stomach pain and fatigue, the overnight laps took over two hours. Pat’s daughter rode with him throughout some of the overnight period, but once the sun came up it gave Pat a new life of energy, as he completed the marathon bike ride.
The McFalls’ original goal was to raise $5,000, but with the help of strangers who randomly stopped by wondering what was going on, they were able to raise over $10,000.
Pat was thrilled he was able to complete the bike ride and says it was well worth it for his grandson.
According to a GoFundMe, Soren is on the road to recovery, but it will be a long one. Soren started walking with a physical therapist to strengthen his legs in early August, but he could have several years of treatment left before he is fully “cured”.
If you would like to help the McFalls and donate to their GoFundMe for Soren, click here.