Columbus, Wis (WMTV) -- Nearly 2,000 bike riders will hit the pavement in one week for "The Ride," which is a fundraiser in Madison that benefits UW-Cancer Research.
A Columbus family plans to participate in the fundraiser and ride for a reason.
Laura Voelker was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. She said “The Ride" gave her the encouragement she needed to cross the finish line and become cancer free.
The Voelker family took a trip back in time to remember the first time they participated in the fundraiser in 2017 to honor their aunt they lost to cancer.
"Josh decided it was time to do something to remember her," Laura said.
Around this time, cancer struck even closer to home.
"So the Friday before the ride, we found out I had stage three breast cancer," she said.
Laura’s life quickly changed. She went through 16 rounds of chemotherapy and 31 days of radiation therapy.
"Word got out and meals started showing up, people stopped over and offered support,” Josh Voelker said.
Laura said support from her family and the community made a difficult time a bit easier.
"The way things fell together, I felt like Josh’s aunt was with me through my journey," she said.
She explained she wanted to use her experience to encourage others battling cancer to keep fighting by riding for a cause.
"I think just the joy of riding with all my family members that I don't get to see and knowing that all our effort we put into at the ride is going toward a great cause [is important]," Jackson Voelker said.
"Like he said being with my family and showing the entire support system that we had, " Olivia Voelker said.
Laura said she will continue to support cancer research because maybe one day they'll find a cure.
"If we can stop cancer in its tracks, why wouldn't we?" Laura said.
The ride has already exceeded $1 million raised. If you wish to donate, click