Paw Paw man mountain biking 2,700+ miles to support pediatric cancer community

Mark Linder's son, Kevin, died from Stage IV Neuroblastoma Cancer at six years old. Mark wants to raise $50,000 to support the same organizations that helped his family during such a difficult time.
Mark Linder Mountain Biking for Cancer
Posted at 4:45 PM, Mar 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-08 21:47:58-05

PAW PAW, Mich. — Whenever you ask Mark Linder how he's doing, he always has the same answer.

"Peachy!"

He said it's something he started saying 5 or 10 years ago.

"I just kind of picked it up along the way," Mark said. "It makes everybody smile when they receive it.”

That kind of joyful attitude must run in the Linder family, shining the most through Mark's son, Kevin. The family's "superhero," as they called him.

Kevin Linder Superhero

"He loved super anything superhero related," Mark said. "Just the strength that he showed during his treatments, and just kind of the way that he lived his life. He became our superhero.”

At two, Kevin was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer.

Kelly Linder, Mark's wife, explained, in brief, what that meant for Kevin.

Kevin Linder

“He was having trouble walking," she said. "When he finally got diagnosed, after six weeks of trying to figure out what was going on, his bone marrow was 90% tumor.”

Kevin fought cancer the best he could, but lost that battle at six years old. He was the youngest of the Linder's three children.

Linder family

“Absolutely brutal." Mark said. "Like words can't even really describe it.”

Kevin passed in 2013 and the Linder family is still finding new ways to honor their son and support the pediatric cancer community.

“I figured let's do something epic," Mark said. "Let's do something fun. Let's go on an adventure. And I love to ride the bike.”

It's an adventure Mark has fittingly named the Epic Bike Ride.

Paw Paw man mountain biking 2,700+ miles to support pediatric cancer community

From the end of May through the end of July, he'll travel the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route from Alberta, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico.

2,700+ miles. 160,000+ feet of elevation.

“I mean, it's like climbing Mount Everest five times," Mark said. "That is going to be probably the hardest part.”

Mark noted the physical and emotional parallels between mountain biking and caring for a child with cancer.

Mark Linder Mountain Biking for Cancer

“There’s a lot of challenges," Mark said. "Especially riding a bike — A lot of uphill, lot of days where you’re not feeling very good or there’s weather like today. You just kind of have to push through that.”

The motivation behind the ride will help provide that push.

Mark is hoping to raise $50,000 to support DC Strong, CureSearch and Make-A-Wish — the three pediatric organizations that helped the Linders through the same struggle.

"It's a healing process for us," Kelly said. "It's a way to show the other families that, when the worst happens, you can still get through life. There's still life after the passing of your child.”

Mark plans on documenting as much of the journey as he can through their website. If you would like to follow along, or donate to the cause, just click that link.

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