BRIGHTON, Mich. (AP) — A family from a Detroit suburb has set off on a 1,200-mile (about 1930 kilometers) long bicycle journey to benefit children’s cancer research.

Eva and Karl Helminen and their 10-year old son, Zack, from Brighton left Thursday for a six-week trek to the Upper Peninsula and back on a custom-made bike for three.

The ride is a part of the Great Cycle Challenge USA fundraiser to benefit the Children’s Cancer Research Fund.

The family was inspired to participate because of relatives who’ve had cancer, Eva said.

“My sister is a 20-year cancer survivor and Karl’s father died of cancer, and my uncle just passed, and we have friends who (have) children who have had cancer, and they are survivors,” she said.

They plan to ride five or six hours each day and hope to end their trip on July 4 in Ludington, Karl said. But they hope to sightsee along the way.

“We’re not in such a hurry that we can’t afford to take a day off,” he said. “Zack’s got his fishing pole. He wants to do a lot of fishing.”

As of Monday, the family has raised almost $7,500 of their $10,000 goal. They’re ranked second in the country for fundraising. The Helminens are the top fundraisers of the nearly 2,000 Michigan riders who registered for the challenge, according to challenge spokesman Doug Drotman.

The Helminens’ five-year-old English bulldog named Duchess will also accompany them on the trip in a bike trailer padded with memory foam.

*Copyright, Associated Press

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