Tallahassee dad biking in memory of his daughter

Posted at 5:53 PM, Sep 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-22 14:18:20-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- Biking hundreds of miles is no easy feat. However one Tallahassee dad is doing just that, raising money for families who are battling cancer.

To Patrick Conn, this cause is close to his heart. 

"My wife and I lost our first child, McKenzie, to cancer in 2007. So that fuels me for the ride," said Conn.

McKenzie was just shy of her 4th birthday when Conn lost his little girl to a form of blood cancer.

Memories of McKenzie are driving him to help other cancer patients.

"Just thinking about what my daughter went through in her cancer treatment and what other cancer patients go through, it kind of helped me look past the pain," said Conn. 

Conn is talking about the pain of peddling hundreds of miles for the Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer ride, proudly wearing McKenzie's name as he did so. The cross-country bike ride raises money for the V Foundation for Cancer Research.

Conn says he wanted to join the 2018 ride to support other families and hopefully spare them from the pain his family went through.

"The ride itself is really fueled by the passion for the patients. Just talking about the experience helps other people gain a little bit of awareness about what cancer patients deal with," said Conn. 

Conn says his daughter, McKenzie, inspired him to train for the race but what helped him push through the 225 is the thought of helping other families who are going through the same thing.

Conn is one of more than 100 Bristol-Myers Squibb employees who tag-teamed on the 3-week journey, which finishes in New Jersey on September 25.

"Every dollar that I raise, Bristol-Myers Squibb matches. We're hoping to raise a million dollars and honestly it's all about helping patients," said Conn.

With McKenzie always on his mind, Conn says she's his main motivation. However, he's also riding for friends and family who have battled or are battling cancer.