Virginia Bicyclist Races Across America to Benefit Children With Cancer

A northern Virginia man begins a 12-day cross country bike ride Tuesday to benefit children with cancer.

Len Forkas, 57, of Vienna is competing in his second Race Across America to raise money for his non-profit Hopecam, which he started after his son, Matt, was diagnosed with Leukemia.

“When we were walking across the sky bridge to the hospital on the very first day, when Matt looked at me and asked me if he was going to die,” Len said. “And that was the lowest point of my life.”

“Am I going to die? I just didn’t know if anything was going to happen,” Matt said. “Everything was very unclear.”

Hopecam virtually connects children with cancer to their friends and classmates.

“It definitely helped me because if made me feel like nothing was wrong,” Matt said. “It made me feel like everything was normal and they could see me, and I’m sure it helped them understand what I was going through.”

“I saw how lonely it was for him to be isolated from his friends, and working with the school, we came up with the idea of putting a web camera in his classroom and one in our home, and you should have been there when the cameras clicked on and my son could see his friends,” Len said. “It was magical.”

Len dedicates each day of the race to a child with cancer, and many of them reach out to him with letters. When he raced in 2012, his team read him a letter every a night, which they will do again this year.

“They inspire me, because their courage and bravery as they go through treatment,” Len said. “I mean, I’m just trying to get to Annapolis, Maryland. These kids are fighting their own mortality.”

Matt will join his father on the race this year as part of the crew, doing a video blog throughout the Race Across America.

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