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HOMETOWN HEROES: Local cancer survivor training for 3,000 mile cross-country cycling race

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Marc Julien, CEO, Marc Julien Homes, is a local cancer survivor who is training to compete in a 3,000 mile cycling race from California to Maryland. (Marc Julien)

Marc Julien is a husband and father, a businessman and a cancer survivor.

In June of 2018, just four weeks after the birth of his first child, Marc’s world was turned upside down.

He was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in his neck and tonsils.

“The natural instinct is to think death. I’m going to die, what’s going to happen to my kids and family and business? Once you get a grasp on the situation and how treatable it is things come into perspective,” Marc said.

He went through dozens of radiation treatments and chemotherapy sessions that lasted seven hours at a time.

Some days were so bad he forgot what it was like to feel good, but he never lost sight of what he was fighting for.

“I guess the excitement of coming out the other side was certainly a driver to want to keep going and persevere and see my daughter,” Marc said.

This past December, he and his family celebrated two years cancer-free.

Marc says now he really prioritizes and thinks about what is important in his life.

“A lot of people say smell the roses and I say prior to being diagnosed with cancer I never even saw the flowers, I was just zipping by so quick and now I appreciate life a lot more,” Marc said.

So he’s using the time he wasn’t sure he’d have, to make a difference in the lives of others.

“While I was sick I was already thinking when I get out of this and feel better I have to do something really big just to encourage myself to believe that it’s gone and I’m better than I was before,” Marc said.

He’s now training to compete in the “Race Across America” in June.

It’s a 3,000-mile bicycle race from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland.

“The big goal is to win a race that’s tougher than Tour de France. It’s twice as long and happens in five days as opposed to over 25 days so it’s a huge achievement," Marc said.

He’s on a team with seven other men from the U.S. and the U.K., all of whom have been impacted by cancer in some way.

The men will meet in person for the first time and train together in Florida in March.

The race begins on June 19th and each rider will do 100 miles a day.

With the goal of winning in mind, they know they will have to finish the race in about five days and ten hours.

They’ve also launched a non-profit and are determined to raise at least $500,000 for childhood cancer treatment research.

“During the process of recovery I started thinking about all these kids that are sick with cancer and I thought what a great way to do this crazy event and try and raise money to help kids with their treatments and lessen the effects that they incur after treatment,” Marc said.

The money raised will go to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Click here if you’d like to learn more about their efforts.