‘Kids should be living life, not fighting for it’

Published 2:10 pm Thursday, September 1, 2022

Smithfield bicyclist to ride 600 miles for childhood cancer research


When her spin-bike gym closed during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jackie Stoner of Smithfield purchased a road-worthy bicycle and ventured outside.

In September, she hopes to raise at least $2,500 for childhood cancer research by riding a cumulative 600 miles.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

This will be her fourth year participating in the Great Cycle Challenge USA. The nationwide event, founded in 2015, has recruited over 440,000 riders from all 50 states over the past seven years, raising more than $52 million for the Children’s Cancer Research Fund.

“I mostly stay in Isle of Wight County and usually I’ll complete a 100-mile ride on (the Virginia Capital) Trail from Jamestown to Richmond,” Stoner said.

Over the past three years, she’s traveled more than 1,400 miles and raised over $4,600, mostly from friends and family. Those wishing to contribute to her 2022 goal can donate via her page on the Great Cycle Challenge’s website: greatcyclechallenge.com/Riders/JackieStoner.

According to the challenge’s website, 38 children die of cancer every week, yet only 4% of federal funding goes toward childhood cancer research. Since 1981, the Childhood Cancer Research Fund has contributed over $200 million to research, support programs for children and families, and education outreach. Last fiscal year, 85% of funds raised went directly to these program service areas.

CCRF is recognized for meeting all 20 standards of the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, Stoner noted, as well as accountability standards for GuideStar Platinum and the Charities Review Council.

“My challenge will be tough, but it’s nothing compared to what these brave kids face every day of their lives as they battle this terrible disease,” Stoner said. “Kids should be living life, not fighting for it.”

As a family friend of Sandy Arnette, a former Isle of Wight County resident who now lives in North Carolina, the cause is deeply personal to Stoner.

Arnette’s granddaughter, Georgia Mae, died of neuroblastoma in March 2020 at age 5.

“My oldest daughter, Esther, and Georgia Mae were the same age before she passed away,” Stoner said.

“Thanks to riders like Jackie, we’re fueling groundbreaking research to save lives and give kids the brighter future they deserve,” said Daniel Gumnit, chief executive officer of the Children’s Cancer Research Fund, via a press release.