Cancer survivor overcomes illness to bike more than 300 miles

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Dan Morley celebrates after passing 300 miles in the month of June.

TRAVERSE CITY, Mi. (WPBN/WGTU) —The McLain Race Team was one of almost a thousand teams that took part in the national Great Cycle Challenge. But, there’s one thing, or at least one person that sets this group apart.

“Dan is a great motivator on our team," said team member Jim Sanford. "We all look up to this guy, who would've thunk this guy would be biking with us today.”

The man he's referring to, Dan Morley, who first started cycling about five years ago. Once he started he couldn’t stop. Until three years later while Dan was competing in the Ice Man challenge, something made him stop.

“I had a hard time swallowing water and breathing during the race," Morley said. "I thought I was just coming down with strep throat, and two weeks later I ended up being diagnosed with throat cancer.”

To treat it, Morley underwent chemotherapy. Until a local recurrence later called for a laryngectomy, and the removal of his voice box.

“One of the first questions I asked them is would I be able to ride my bike again," Morley said. "And they said 'you know, you can do anything you want to do.'”

Now less than a year later Morley not only got back on the bike, but he rode more than 300 miles in the month of June to raise money for the Great Cycle Challenge. Motivating himself and also those around him.

“He keeps me motivated every day," Sanford said. "When I see this guy and what he can do, he pushes me to the max.”

While cancer may have taken Morley’s voice box, it didn’t take away his voice. It only made it louder. After all, actions speak louder than words.

“I'm not nearly as fast and I don’t have the same endurance I had back in 2015," Morley said. "But you know, I’m having a lot of fun and I'm lapping everyone on the couch.”

The Great Cycle Challenge is a fundraiser for the Children's Cancer Research Fund. McLain Race Team placed first in the nation among Cycle Clubs. You can check out the team's page HERE.