By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Billions of dollars are spent each year researching a cure for cancer, but those fighting the disease often see an immediate financial burden.

Mike Schuh reports on a slow-moving method to help those in need.

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Think about what’s happened on this day. On this very day, someone’s life path will have changed forever. It happened to Patti Jackson.

“Everything in your life that mattered at that moment when you hear that word, ‘you have cancer,’ changes,” she said.

It happened to Julie Lanahan.

“I am hoping I can get through this,” she said.

She got through cancer–a disease that connects both of them to Keely Ireland, who does not have cancer, but is going on a journey to support a friend who was diagnosed in the fall.

“I told my donators that if I could reach my minimum fundraising goal–$4,000 by the end of the year of 2013–that I would shave my head bald and keep it bald until the ride,” Ireland said.

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These three committed women will, on Saturday, join 21 others and channel their anti-cancer energies to ride from Key Highway to Key West.

“So this is a great time of year for everyone to kind of roll out from the doldrums of winter to head south,” said Brian Satola, Ulman Cancer Fund.

The southward journey will raise $130,000. It’s money for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.

“Where this Key to Keys comes in is that we also realize that those people who are affected by cancer, that don’t necessarily have cancer, also need support,” Satola said. “And that’s where this ride really is. This is a mobile support group.”

The participants won’t ride all 1,300 miles. It’s a relay. Each will ride 50 miles a day, rolling in chase cars the rest of the time.

They can’t change the day they heard the news, but they can change what they do in the days that follow.

Those riders roll away at 7 a.m. this Saturday from Race Pace Bicycles on Key Highway.

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