Mother honors son's life by biking 1,900 miles, raising money for pediatric cancer research

Posted at 6:45 PM, Sep 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-30 00:16:55-04

MONROE, Ohio -- Sheyna Heisman has lived without her son, Cory Powell, since his death of leukemia in 2013. She said she saw him again while completing a 1,900-mile cross-country bike ride in his honor. 

"I felt like he was really with me," she said. "It was hard to leave when we had those moments."

Powell made the same journey from Ohio to Arizona before his diagnosis and death, calling his family once a week and keeping a journal of the places he visited. Heisman said she used that to reconstruct his route when she began to plan her own ride, and she kept it with her during the journey.

"Some of the most moving parts of the trip were when we were in places that he spoke about specifically in his journal and I knew I was standing in the same place that he was," she said.

She wasn't alone. A group of supporters called Cory's Cruisers accompanied her on the trip, which also functioned as a fundraiser for pediatric cancer research. Although Powell died of acute myeloid leukemia, the originating illness was Ewings sarcoma, a rare bone cancer that primarily affects preteens and teenagers. 

Although she would have liked more than the 25 years she got with her son, Heisman said she was grateful for the past research that allowed him to fight both cancers and stay with her as long as he did. It's future research that will help other families in her situation get even more time with the people they love.

"There is nothing I feel more passionate about than doing whatever I can so that another child, another young adult, another parent doesn't have to experience what we experienced," she said.

Cory's Cruisers had raised $19,615 for the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation by Friday night. Although their trip is over, their fundraiser will continue online until Oct. 31 -- the day Powell died.