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Meet the Pennsylvania dad riding his bicycle across the country to support Ronald McDonald House

Pennsylvania dad embarks on 4,600-mile bicycle journey for Ronald McDonald House
Pennsylvania dad embarks on 4,600-mile bicycle journey for Ronald McDonald House 02:17

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Jeff Bekos is gearing up for the ride of a lifetime — 4,600 miles across the country. 

But, as daunting as this journey sounds, it pales in comparison to the uphill battle he and his family endured in 2013, as his daughter Hailey fought a rare disease.

Hailey was 13 years old when her life took a turn. She went from spirited cheerleading routines to suffering seizures, four months in a coma, and grueling treatments at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia due to anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. 

During that challenging time, the Ronald McDonald House in West Philly became the Doylestown family's second home, providing comfort and support for 254 nights. 

Hailey poses for a photo with Ronald McDonald
Courtesy of Jeff Bekos

"We could be at CHOP with Hailey for 14-16 hours a day, then come back here to our room where there would be three meals a day and the comforts of home," Bekos said. "The safety of home and all that we need during the most horrific time of our lives."

Eleven years later, in honor of the Ronald McDonald House's 50th anniversary, Bekos is showing his gratitude by pedaling from California to Philadelphia.

"I'll be riding 65 miles a day, six days a week with one day rest," he said.

He will make stops at 26 Ronald McDonald chapters along the way on a mission to share Hailey's story and raise $5 million for the charity. 

"I'm fighting for the families," he said. "No different than when we were fighting for Hailey. Everyday was a battle and journey and it took every ounce of energy from us. I know others are going through the same thing so I'm riding for them."

And those families here at the house are rooting for Bekos, sending him off with handwritten notes to fuel him when the road gets rough.

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