SoCal firefighter battling stage 4 cancer sets off on 4K mile fundraising road trip

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- Mike Orland is not about to let stage 4 cancer stand in the way of an adventure of a lifetime. On Wednesday, the 52-year-old former Cal Fire Captain set off on a motorcycle road trip with his two sons to Alaska.

"I have stage 4 kidney cancer, and I am not going to be around forever, and to me this is something I can leave with my kids that they can always look back on," said Orland.

In 2017, Orland was diagnosed and learned his cancer had already spread beyond his kidney. His son, Jared suggested he and his older brother, Jacob take a trip to make some memories.

"Five years ago we drove to Alaska with a truck and a trailer and we were seeing people ride motorcycles, and we always talked about how cool it would be to do that," said Jacob Orland.

So, this past Spring they began planning the 4,000 mile journey on the back of their motorcycles.

"We decided to make it relevant, not just from sharing it with ourselves but to turn this into something bigger," said Mike Orland.

They turned their ride dubbed, Alaska Adv 2019, into a fundraiser benefiting the Firefighter Cancer Association and a legacy scholarship for Crafton Hills Fire Academy.

The father and sons trip set off in the parking lot of Chaparral Motorsports. The motorcycle shop helped Orland with his gear and find the right motorcycle for the trip.

"We supplied him with a good deal on a brand new 2019 KTF 790 Adventure," said Kyle Bradshaw with Chaparral Motorsports.

Bradshaw and others also joined the escort party sending Orland and his sons on their way.

"We are going to ride up and over the (Cajon) Pass with him just the first little leg of the trip just as a quick little send off," said Bradshaw.

Just days ago, the trip seemed unlikely with Orland facing several medical challenges including recent surgery for back pain associated with his cancer.

"Everything just kind of came together. I wasn't even riding a motorcycle again until 10 or 12 days ago," said Orland.

The trip is expected to last three weeks and will stop at fire stations along the way.

"Once he sets his mind to something its going to happen no matter what. Whatever it takes for him to do that, it is going to happen," said Jacob Orland.

The group will be documenting the journey along the way and posting to both Facebook Alaska Adv 2019 and Instagram under the hashtag #AlaskaAdv2019.

Donations can be made here.
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