Jacksonville man pedaling to raise money for childhood cancer research

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — One day Tiffany Rodriguez noticed her daughter Lily wasn’t her usual bubbly self.

“We were giving her a bath and her stomach was very extended. It very round because her spleen was the size of my hand,” Rodriguez said.

The mother of five immediately knew something was wrong and took her to the hospital.

STORY: Young Jacksonville mother dies from COVID-19 after giving birth to second child

That’s when they diagnosed her with leukemia.

“As a mom I feel a lot of guilt still because I’m like how I not noticed this?”

That’s where the Great Cycle Challenge steps in. The fundraiser has been around for six years, raising over $39 million in support of childhood cancer research.

On Sept. 1, Ricardo Andreu and riders from across the country will pedal to raise money for kids battling cancer just like Lily.

>>Click here to donate to Ricardo’s ride<<

“Over 15,700 kids are diagnosed with cancer every year and sadly 38 children die every week,” Andreu said.

On Wednesday, Andreu gave 4-year-old Lily and her younger brother a ride around the hangar at Malone Air Charter, where he works.

Lily’s had a long stay in hospital and the journey hasn’t been easy.

She still has a year left of chemotherapy and physical therapy.

STORY: Jacksonville day care owner arrested after child left in van for at least 2 hours, police say

“She’s had probably at least between 12 and 15 blood transfusions. She should be about 13 if everything goes smoothly and she hits her 5 year mark after treatment she should be about 13 years old cancer free,” Rodriguez said.

To help support the Great Cycle Challenge and Lily, you can click here.

WATCH: ‘Great Cycle Challenge’ takes on childhood cancer in the name of 4-year-old Lily