Oceanside CA– While hundreds of people were preparing for the 85th annual Labor Day Pier Swim, nine-year old C.J.Burford was dipping the front wheel of his bicycle in the Pacific Ocean before heading for a destination in the opposite direction, St. Augustine Florida.
C.J. began his cross-country trek early Labor Day morning in an effort to raise money for The National Children’s Cancer Society. “My goal is to raise $100,000 for the society.” said CJ “I had a dream when I was six years-old and God told me, take what you’re good at and use it to help people.” continued CJ “I’m good at bike riding.” And so began C.J’s fundraising efforts.
Last year CJ biked to raise money for Samaritan’s Purse “Children’s Heart Project” riding 437 miles across the state of North Carolina. Before that, he raised money for the Ronald McDonald House and charity which supports medical missionaries in Kenya.
The Burford family is 100-precent behind CJ’s efforts. His father Craig rides along with CJ, his mother drives the support bus which was donated for the fundraiser by Mr. Bishop at AAA Automotive Towing and Recovery Service in Fayetteville, North Carolina. CJ’s sister Kenadi is handling the media along with updates on the ride for Facebook and Twitter.
With most students heading back to school this time of year the Burford children are getting a real world, hands on education during the fundraiser. “I’m a history buff” explained CJ, “I’m most excited about our stop in San Antonio and our visit to the Alamo.” They will be staying two days to explore the history in San Antonio and will be doing the same when they reach New Orleans.
Being on the road doesn’t mean the kids will be lacking in traditional studies though. CJ’s mom, Katie, is a former teacher and has been home schooling the kids for several years. “I love the flexibility homeschooling provides” said Katie.
CJ spoke at two services of the New Song Church, Inland Hills in Bonsall on Sunday “CJ provided inspiration for us. He spoke about Colossians 3:23- Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” said Ryan King, Pastor at New Song. Several members of the church along with Pastor King met CJ in front of the “Top Gun” house prior to the Burfords departure.
Finding equipment to fit CJ’s small frame has been a challenge. “CJ is riding a womans bike because we couldn’t find a frame that would fit him” said CJ’s father, Craig, “I have a whole new appreciation for the biking community.” continued Craig, “We are not a family of great financial means but the biking community, at home in Fayetteville, North Carolina, got together and donated the bike that CJ is using for the ride.”
CJ plans to use the Southern Tier Adventure Cycling Route to cross the United States. Bob Mueller, who is riding support for CJ during the first three weeks said they hope to average about 14 mph and about 40 miles per day. Craig said “Barring any problems and everything goes well, the family hopes to complete the trip around Thanksgiving weekend in St. Augustine.”
To learn more about CJ’s non-profit organization, Love+FAR(For A Reason), click [here] To learn more about the ride or follow CJ’s progress you can read his blog [here], on Facebook or follow him on Twitter #cjusa. You can donate to The National Children’s Cancer Society by texting; cjburford to 71777