HPD officers bike to Salt Lake City to raise money, awareness to fight cancer

Twenty-one members of the Houston Police Department geared up for their six-day trek to fight cancer.

For many of these officers, this is personal -- to bring more awareness to leukemia and lymphoma.

These officers will bike 1,500 miles to Salt Lake City.

To Senior HPD Officer Chris Kunkel, it’s a different kind of mission.

“We’re riding to Salt Lake City,” he said. “It’s kind of emotional.”

For him and the other 20 members of HPD, it’s a roll call for HPD’s 42nd annual ride in the fight against cancer. And in this summer heat, it’s an assignment that will require physical and emotional endurance.

“My father, sister-in-law and a couple of other relatives that have been through this, they don’t have spring mornings and cool fall evenings,” Kunkel said. “So, we are trying to simulate as much as we can to ourselves and keep reminding ourselves what these family members and friends go through when they are going through treatment.”

As they ride, they’re meeting new friends along the way along with a story to share.

“There was a woman out near White Sands on a tricycle motorcycle and passed us. She saw all our stickers and pulled off the road and flagged us down and she had her husband’s ashes who had just passed,” Kunkel added. “When he was successful with his treatments they wanted to travel across the U.S. He didn’t make it, so she took some family money and packed him on the backseat and took him on that cross-county ride and gave us quite a hefty check.”

The teams included both current and former officers as well as some community members. So far, they’ve raised $85,000.

“It’s not just leukemia and lymphoma patients but the research for those blood cancers can go over to all the other cancers and every story big and small. It just gives you goosebumps,” Kunkel said.