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Odessa cycling team pedaling to crush cancer

Odessa Cycling team.jpg
Posted at 4:08 PM, Apr 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-01 16:08:42-04

ODESSA, Fla — It’s one thing to ask your friends to help you move or for a ride to the airport, but what about asking them to join you on a 62-mile bike ride. That’s what one group of friends accomplished this week and it was all for a great cause.

They call themselves Team Cancer Crushes, and they crushed a 62-mile ride across Tampa Bay. It was all part of the Pan-Florida Challenge.

“It feels great you know it’s kind of unreal to think I did 62 miles,” said Janelle Morales.

For Morales going on a ride like this was only a fantasy back in 2016 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“It’s really an out-of-body experience, the scariest thing I’ve ever gone through,” said Morales.

After years of combined radiation, medication, and reconstruction she was finally able to put the disease behind her. However, it wasn’t time to rest, she was ready for a new challenge.

“I feel like if I can get through a cancer diagnosis I can get through anything,” said Morales who had very little cycling experience before deciding to attempt the event.

It was personal for Janelle because the ride raises money for cancer research and prevention.

“And I kind of looked at doing this Pan-Florida Challenge the same way I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy,” said Morales.

What really inspired her, every inch of pavement along the way, was that loyal team of cancer crushes riding alongside her.

“The team camaraderie, and having everyone come together for one cause,” said Morales.

“I think it’s important to do things like this because it gives them that motivation to keep going, gives them a purpose after going through something so traumatic,” said team member Marco Echeverry.

“You know you get deep into that ride and your legs are hurting, and your lungs are hurting, and your butt is hurting, and you know this is nothing compared to what they’ve gone through,” said team member Jayson Velez.

Together the cancer crushers raised more than $10,000. Janelle says, just wait until next year.

“We are going to do the 100-mile bike ride,” said Morales.