By Leah Sander
WARSAW — Brandon Reinholt is headed to California.
But it’s not just for fun.
The Warsaw man left town on Tuesday, Aug. 17, on what he calls the Cross Country for Karrah bike ride. The trip is in honor of Karrah Teruya of Syracuse, who is battling a second round of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Reinholt met Karrah Teruya after he began dating Teruya’s sister, Tressa Fidler.
In January, Teruya’s second bout with the disease began.
Reinholt wanted to raise money through the ride and give it to Teruya. However, she turned him down regarding the money coming her way.
“She’s the one that was like I wouldn’t feel right taking this money when she knows that there are people out there that are struggling,” he said.
Instead, the $5,000 Reinholt is aiming to raise through GoFundMe will go to the K21 Health Foundation’s Kosciusko County Cancer Care Fund. The fund helps with personal expenses for those battling cancer in the county.
“And if her cancer were to come back in full force, she would be able to benefit from this care fund,” he added.
On the ride, Reinholt will also be thinking of his friend, Justin Kerschner, who also has cancer. Reinholt has put a bracelet from Kerschner on the handlebar of the Specialized Venge bike he’s riding.
“I can always be reminded of him and those others battling (cancer) with just a quick glance down,” he said.
“I want to do this in honor of Karrah, I want to do this in honor of those whose health was taken away from them and let them know that there’s people out there, strangers out there that care about them and I’m going to try to finish what I start,” he also said.
Finishing what he starts involves a 2,300-mile trip from Warsaw to Newport Beach, Calif., where Karrah and Tressa’s brother, Seth Fidler, resides. Reinholt’s mother also plans to rendezvous there and then she and Reinholt will drive back together.
He estimates the trip will take 28-34 days to complete and hopes to average about 80 miles per day. According to his GoFundMe page, as of Friday, Aug. 20, he had reached Pleasant Hill, Ill.
Reinholt has had experience with rides through Trailhouse of Winona Lake and 2nd Mile Adventures.
“But this is the first one I’ll be doing by myself,” he said Tuesday.
He did have a riding buddy on Tuesday for the start of his trip: Karrah’s husband, Micah Teruya.
He was grateful for Reinholt making the trip.
“It’s super special,” Micah Teruya said. “He kind of just came out of the blue and told us (about the ride.) … And I was like, That’s crazy, but that’s awesome because my wife, she loves sports and riding … so he’s doing that in honor of her and then raising money for K21 is super cool too.”
He encouraged people to not only donate for the ride via GoFundMe, but also consider checking out bethematch.org, a site that advocates for bone marrow donation.
He noted that Karrah received a bone marrow donation from her sister Makayla Fidler.
Karrah also expressed her gratefulness to Reinholt.
“Just this is really crazy and really extreme and really amazing that somebody is doing this in honor of me and I’m just really excited,” she said. “It’s nuts.”
To donate to the GoFundMe page, people should click here. As of 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 21, donations had reached $4,160.