Exeter band teacher to ride in Great Cycle Challenge

Kirk Clague will ride 250 miles this month in support of Children’s Cancer Research Fund

By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN

THREE RIVERS – Exeter Union High School’s band teacher Kirk Clague is using his love for endurance sports, and his appreciation for solitude to help fight childhood cancer. Throughout the month of June, he will ride 250 miles in the hopes of raising $1,500 in the 5th annual Great Cycle Challenge to support the Children’s Cancer Research Fund (CCRF) and one day find a cure.

“It would be great if we can find a cure, but we will never do that unless it’s well funded,” Clague said.

Clague is no stranger to cancer. He watched his mother pass away from lung cancer, and in what describes as a cruel manner. He had his own stint with cancer in 2014 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Fortunately, they caught it early and surgeons were able to remove the cancer.

After both brushes with cancer, Clague knew there was still much work to be done to find a cure. In 2018 he found a way to get involved when he followed a former student of his, Chris Marshal, on his Great Cycle Challenge rides.

Clague has competed in endurance sports since a young age when he rode a bike, swam, or ran. Now his shoulders and knees don’t let him swim or run as much, but he can still pedal a bike.

“I had to get into shape anyway, so in 2018 I rode every day in June,” Clague said. “That solitude of being within your mind, I’ve always liked that retreat.”

Clague’s first time taking the challenge was last June. He rode 600 miles and raised $6,255.11 toward cancer research. He has dialed the mileage back a bit this time around, but his resolve remains the same. Partly because of his career as a high school band teacher, and the fact over 15,000 children are diagnosed with cancer every year.

“No parent should out live their kids,” Clague said.

If Clague has learned one thing from his battle with cancer and helping raise funds toward research, it is to live in the moment. He has begun to do the things he loves such as cycling, fly fishing, and even teaching the Monarch band’s music with a new energy.

“It makes you understand that there is a randomness to life that is unavoidable,” Clague said. “I want to continue to do the things that I love.”

Founded in 2015, Great Cycle Challenge USA has grown to become one of the biggest cycling events in the country. In just four years, over 153,000 riders from 50 states have ridden 12 million miles, raising more than $16 million for research and the development of better treatments and cures for childhood cancer. This year, CCRF hopes more than 50,000 riders will help it raise $8.2 million.

“Over 15,000 American children are diagnosed with cancer every year and, sadly, 38 children die every week,” said John Hallberg, Chief Executive Officer at Children’s Cancer Research Fund. “Thanks to riders like Kirk, we’re fueling groundbreaking research to save lives and give kids the brighter future they deserve.”

Great Cycle Challenge USA encourages cyclists across the United States to challenge themselves and set their own personal riding goal throughout June to fight kids’ cancer. Riders fundraise to save lives and give kids the brighter future they deserve. For more information, visit greatcyclechallenge.com.

Children’s Cancer Research Fund invests in groundbreaking research that is leading to better treatments and cures for children with cancer. CCRF also funds vital family support services and advocates for childhood cancer education and awareness. Since 1981, CCRF donors have helped fund research that has revolutionized the way childhood cancer is treated worldwide. Visit childrenscancer.org or call 1-888-422-7348 to learn more.

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