Man beats cancer, rides to help others - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Man beats cancer, rides to help others

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

24 hours seems like a long time to be on a bicycle, but Friday and Saturday, more than 1,000 people peddled through the Myers Park area. 

Saturday evening, the 13th annual 24-hours of booty wrapped up raising more than 1.3 million dollars to stop cancer. 

Chris Fernandez is one of the cyclists who has been riding in the event since 2004. 

"You hear stories. You learn so much about other people, the struggles they are going through," Fernandez said. 

Fernandez rode because he wanted to help, but that all changed in 2008. 

"I didn't think it would happen to me, I was hoping it wouldn't happen to me. But it did," Fernandez said. 

Doctors found a brain tumor. All of a sudden, Fernandez became one of the people he'd been riding for all these years.  

"I was in great shape. I thought I was taking care of myself and it doesn't care. It just happens. It's not anything you do wrong," Fernandez said. 

Fernandez endured a surgery that took away his hearing and left him unable to walk.

"Brain surgery sucks. Any time you do brain surgery, bad things can happen," Fernandez said. 

However, Fernandez didn't let his diagnosis stop him from riding in 24 Hours of Booty seven months later. 

"I rode the event on the back of a tandem, and my friend pulled me around," Fernandez said. 

Over the past 13 years, 24-hours of booty has raised over twelve million dollars for people like Fernandez. That's exactly why Fernandez and his 71-year old father hit the pavement every year. 

"Now that I'm recovered, not fully, I make it a point to come out here and suffer," Fernandez said. 

The pair tells WBTV they feel blessed to have the opportunity to ride each year.

"Some of us get a second chance, it's an honor to be out here," Fernandez said. 

This year, the duo rode over 300 miles, counting every blessing along the way. 

"Live your life well, you never know what is going to happen, so make it count," Fernandez said. 

Planning has already begun for next year's event. Registration opens in January. 

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