Logging many miles by riding her bicycle, Linda Rickabaugh is raising funds for The Great Cycle Challenge. CONTRIBUTED

Linda Rickabaugh biking for The Great Cycle Challenge for cancer research

MADISON – Linda Rickabaugh is riding her bicycle for the 2023 Great Cycle Challenge, both to commemorate her late brother and help sick children.

Rickabaugh has participated in the fundraiser for the past four years. “The challenge’s objective itself is to bring attention to the need for funding children’s cancer research by riding bicycles, spreading the word and raising awareness,” Rickabaugh said.

Children’s Cancer Research Fund was established in 1985 to build grants that are awarded to research scientists at hospitals and other institutions. The scientists can work on cures for the cancers that are killing our kids, she said. The research fund has been associated with the Great Cycle Challenge since 2015.

“My brother was one of my 11 siblings; he died five years ago of cancer,” Rickabaugh said. “I consider myself extremely blessed that among my over 50 extended family members, none but Peter have succumbed to cancer — his was lung cancer.”

“I’ve had multiple friends die from different forms of cancer. The Great Cycle Challenge concentrates on pediatric cancers, such as leukemia, rhabdomyosarcoma (soft tissue) kidney, neuroblastoma, lymphoma, retinoblastoma (eyes) and glioblastoma (brain),” Rickabaugh said.

Rickabaugh wishes she could say that she went to the gym daily to train, but her mother told her never to lie. “I try to hop on the bike a couple times a week, but the heat lately is making even that difficult. Usually, a bike ride will encompass 12-15 miles, maybe more,” she said. “As I approach September and the cooler weather, I’ll be riding 15-20 miles daily.”

Since she began the challenge in 2020, Rickabaugh has ridden 1,100-plus miles. “That was averaging 20 miles daily in the span of one month each year. I have ridden many more, but September is the only month when miles are counted for the challenge,” she said.

Anyone interested in joining the challenge can register at greatcyclechallenge.com. Anyone who wants to donate and help Rickabaugh reach her goal of $4,000 can visit greatcyclechallenge.com/riders/LindaRickabaugh or scan her QR code.

“The donations have always gone directly to the Children’s Cancer Research Fund,” Rickabaugh said.

Linda and husband Ronnie moved to Madison in 2002. “My husband’s work in the missile program brought him to Alabama. We settled in Madison while the kids grew up and went to school,” she said.

Currently, Ronnie Rickabaugh works for the Missile Defense Agency. “I have five grown kids now,” Linda said. “Julia is a nurse in the Limestone County school district. Erin is a neonatal nurse with Madison Hospital. Andrew co-owns Rick-N-Ball Restoration with Erin’s husband, Kevin. An Opelika resident, Patrick works in construction. Mary works in marketing in Tuscaloosa with her family,” Linda said.

Linda formerly was full-time caregiver for her mother until she passed away just before turning 101 years old. Linda now volunteers for A New Leash on Life Thrift Store.

In addition to volunteering, Rickabaugh serves as President of Madison Women’s Club and participates in The Women’s Auxiliary at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. “I like crafting, sewing, traveling and spending time with my grandkids.”

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