DENVER – Alec Fraser and Jamie Meehan will tell you the idea of cycling nearly 5,000 miles like most good ideas do.
“One evening over a mug of beer we decided to drive across the country,” said Meehan.
The real inspiration was born in a Connecticut hospital decades earlier.
“Julian was a very special person,” said his father Alec.
Julian Fraser was a kid with a big smile and an even bigger heart. An all-American swimmer and college water polo player, his father said he was happy and healthy until he turned 19 and received a devastating diagnosis.
“He had osteosarcoma, a bone cancer that mostly affects children and adolescents,” said Alec. “Unfortunately at the time of diagnosis it had already metastasized and it was in 14 different parts of his body and he had a huge tumor in his abdomen.”
After years of tough battle, Julian lost his battle with cancer in 2017.
“They gave him very little chance of survival. I remember once he took me aside and said, ‘Dad, I don’t care what they say, I’ll hit this.’ And he just fought this disease with all his might, ”said Alec.
The two draw from this strength when they cycle Julian’s Honor from Connecticut to California. Her goal is to raise half a million dollars for Cycle for Survival, which funds research into rare cancers.
“Over 50% of people with cancer have some form of rare cancer, and yet only 4 cents of every dollar raised for cancer research goes to rare cancer research. So it’s very important to us, ”said Alec.
This week, Team JF made it to Colorado. A crowd of supporters accompanied her for long distances while the teenager was never far from her thoughts.
“I think of the fight Julian went through and the fights he had and there is a huge reservoir of commitment to keep it going and that’s why I think of him in the harder times that I drive” said Meehan.
Nothing will fill the hole Julian left, but Team JF hopes this ride to honor the teenager gives hope to those still struggling.
“I do that every now and then, of course I think of Julian and think of his life, great memories we had with Julian and the feeling, alright, he looks down at us and smiles at what we’re doing, so feels that look really good, “said Alec.
If you would like to donate to Cycle for Survival, visit their website.
Molly Hendrickson anchors at Denver7 from 4:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. It also features a different 7Everyday Hero on Denver7 every week. Follow Molly Facebook here and Twitter here. To appoint a hero in your life Click here.