VAIL, Colorado - Thirteen is Marc DesRosiers lucky number.
The Vail man is riding 1,300 miles in 13 days from Vail to Detroit. He'll spend Day 14 running the Detroit Marathon, not because he has to but because he can.
DesRosiers is working with a Michigan-based nonprofit to help raise $100,000 for three youngsters with life-threatening illnesses. They're more than halfway there and DesRosiers doesn't start until Sunday.
"These kids suffer every day of their lives. I figured I could suffer for a couple weeks," DesRosiers said.
DesRosiers is originally from Lake Orion, Mich., just north of Detroit. Three women from his Lake Orion High School class each have a child with vastly different illnesses, but all three have one thing in common. If they don't get some help these kids will die.
"After seeing my father pass in 2008 from cancer, I knew I had to try to do something," DesRosiers said.
And that's why he's riding and running. He started last Sunday.
He's not alone; 15 people from his Lake Orion High School class will run that Detroit Marathon with him.
It's all part of Lake Orion Loves, a nonprofit launched to help these families. They're hosting all kinds of benefits for the families.
"We have a goal of raising $100,000 for these families," said Kimberly Casper, a Lake Orion graduate and Lake Orion Loves coordinator. "We are looking for companies interested in supporting this cause in any way."
The three kids
Max Milewski was born 11 weeks prematurely with Down syndrome and cataracts. He's now 2 years old and is beginning his battle with leukemia. You can follow his battle on Facebook at "Let's fight like Max for Max."
Nicole Marie Burton was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic eukemia in 2008. She was 4 years old. She endured chemotherapy and treatment, and on March 23, 2011, she rang the bell at Children's Hospital to announce she was done with her treatment and essentially in remission.
Her cancer has returned and she started a new round of treatments last month.
Faith Aisthorpe was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 18 months old. She has been admitted to the hospital over a dozen times for cystic fibrosis exacerbation, pancreas and kidney issues. She takes five oral medications and does up to 12 breathing treatments a day. She also has a permanent IV port in her chest to access for blood draws and to infuse the IV antibiotics when she is in the hospital.
The money raised will be divided equally among the three families, Casper said.
"Raising $100,000 is a lofty goal, but is it impossible? We don't think so," she said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.