Charlotte woman fulfills promise to late son with cross-country bike ride

By: Stephanie Maxwell

Updated:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Sheyna Heismann spent more than 18 months training for a bike ride across the U.S., just to fulfill her late son Cory’s wish to help pediatric patients.

Not long after Cory’s spontaneous decision to cycle across the country in 2009, he was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma. After beating it, he developed leukemia and subsequently passed away on Oct. 31, 2013, at the age of 25.

“He had a very adventurous spirit,” Heismann said. “Obviously that he, at the age of 21, decided to hop on a bike with $150 in his pocket and make his way from Ohio to Arizona.”

Before Cory died, he gave his mother strict instructions to help others like him. That meant cycling 1,700 miles from Ohio to Arizona just like he did, to raise money for cancer research. Heismann was up for the challenge, but she had to first learn how to ride a bike.

“I trained all over the streets of Charlotte from January last year until I left at the end of August,” Heismann said.

Like her son Cory, Heismann documented the entire trip with photos and blog posts. One of her biggest moments came while riding through Indiana.

“As I’m coming over a hill, I see this power plant that I recognized from a picture my son took,” Heismann said.

She replicated Cory’s photo, an homage to her son’s journey.

Heismann’s four-week trek collected more than $20,000 for pediatric cancer research, but she said she gained much more than that.

Reflecting on her experience, Heismann said, “To be in the same spots that I knew he had been and that he had written about or taken pictures about was an emotional and healing experience.”

Eyewitness News anchor Stephanie Maxwell will have the full story of Sheyna Heismann's journey on Channel 9 starting at 5:30 p.m.

To donate to Heismann's fundraiser for the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, click here.

Read more about the ride on Sheyna's Heismann's blog.

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