In 2014, an estimated 10,450 new cases and 1,350 cancer deaths are expected to occur among children between the ages of birth to 14 years. Advances in treatments for childhood cancer have progressed greatly over the years, and now the five-year benchmark for survival has increased to more than an 80 percent survival rate overall, according to reports by the American Cancer Society. But Cancer is still the second leading cause of death (following accidents) in children between the ages of five to 14 years. Approximately 1 in 285 children will be diagnosed with cancer before age 20 years.

Ashley Miller was one of these statistics, back in 1981. Her parents took her to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for successful treatment for Ewings Sarcoma, a bone cancer. Miller is forever thankful to the medical professionals at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for saving her life and giving her a future.   Because of this passion, Miller has supported 24 Foundation of Atlanta, and will ride the event for the first time this year, leading Team Mount Vernon Woods.

“When 24 Foundation moved to the new course in Sandy Springs two years ago, we spearheaded a cheering zone in our yard,” explained Miller, who has been cancer free for 33 years. We had a ‘tailgate’ theme the first year and a ‘Camp Miller’ theme with jump house for the kids last year. We were thrilled to win the Spirit Award in the neighborhood both years. This year, we are starting a team to not just cheer, but ride.”

Miller said the mission to defeat cancer is always a priority. She has a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year and a neighbor who has just started his fight with the disease. She hopes to encourage 24 people – family, friends and neighbors in her neighborhood – to join Team Mount Vernon Woods. They won’t have far to travel, as the 2.6-mile bicycle route winds through their neighborhood.

“It’s our favorite weekend of the year in our neighborhood – it’s so fun,” Miller said. “Because of the event we have met a lot of our neighbors. That weekend, you are outside and everyone looks forward to cheering on the riders. 24 hours sounds intimidating, but it is a loop you can do as much as you want. You can be an avid rider, or just borrow a bike. And it raised money for Children’s Healthcare.”

The residents in the Mount Vernon Woods community cheer for the participants both days as they roll through the tree-lined avenues. This year, the Miller family hopes to inspire neighbors to not only have yard parties and cheering zones, but also register to ride and to beat cancer.

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