BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - There's a cyclist riding cross country advocating for families dealing with childhood cancer. Ken Bettencourt passed through South Mississippi Monday. The money he raises won't go towards medical expenses. Instead, he said it will go towards something just as important. Fifty-eight-year-old Ken Bettencourt riding across America to raise money for non-medical expenses at the result of childhood cancer.
He took a pit stop in South Mississippi after riding 3,700 miles from Tucson Arizona. It's a ride he started March 1.
"Back in 2004 I got sick with cancer, and I had organizations help me out. So, this is my way to give back. You can have the greatest insurance in the world, but there's no insurance that helps with out-of-pocket expenses. So, heroes and angels, that's where we jump in," said Bettencourt.
Bettencourt said he has battled brain cancer twice. His brother also suffered from cancer. His mom and two aunts both died from cancer. His nonprofit organization, Heroes and Angels, help families of children with cancer to cover non-medical necessities such as hotel rooms, food, gas and car repairs.
"You limit yourself on your funds, and the funds aren't there. So, people lose their cars, their homes. They become homeless. So, I knew that there has to be another way to where these people still have a little bit of self-esteem," said Bettencourt.
While his organization doesn't offer cures for cancer, he hopes it helps to ease the financial stress that takes a toll on many families.
"A lot of the families, they end up breaking up because one or the other cannot handle it. I see that a lot," said Bettencourt.
That's why he rides his bike. All in all, he plans on riding 10,000 miles. His next stop is St. Petersburg, Florida, and he'll complete his journey in Bend, Oregon.
"We're a small organization. So, we're limited on what we can provide, but we try to never say no," said Bettencourt.
To make a donation to Bettencourt's organization click here.
Bettencourt reminds drivers to pay attention on the road. So far, he's been hit four times by distracted drivers, most recently in Mississippi where he lost his front teeth and broke his ribs.