Grandpa bicycles coast to coast to raise funds for grandson’s future care

KENT COUNTY, Mich. -- A grandfather who just celebrated his 70th birthday is bicycling across the country and pedaled through his home of Kent County Wednesday, all on two wheels raising money for his grandson.

Ken Smith tells FOX 17 since July 24 when he left Seaside, Ore. he has bicycled more than 2,500 miles through his coast to coast journey. He created a fund to leave for his dependent grandson Jakob, for care later in life.

"I just had this crazy idea: I said I want to do something as his grandfather," said Smith. "I just turned 70 years of age, and I said what can I do to help?"

See Smith's GoFundMe page for his grandson Jakob here.

At two-months-old, Smith says Jakob suffered up to eight seizures daily; doctors said Jakob wouldn’t live past two-years-old, or he would be wheelchair-bound.

Today Jakob is 16 and walking, though he can’t speak and requires around the clock care, which is why Smith is putting a fund in place for Jakob’s future.

"Most people that stopped and have given me donations have said: ‘I can identify with what you’re going through in that we have a son, we have a daughter who is special needs, we have a sister or a brother,' something," said Smith.

"This is a bigger issue than I expected. I just felt that I needed to do something for my grandson. And while I’m still healthy enough to do it, let’s just do it."

Showing FOX 17 how he packs his bicycle strategically and lightly, Smith is a grandfather on a mission to raise money for Jakob, fueled by unconditional love.

When FOX 17 asked what does Jakob think about Smith doing this, he answered: "Jakob will never know. He can’t speak, he’s neurologically challenged, but I’ll know. And my son and daughter-in-law are just very thrilled that I am able to do something like this."

"All that matters to me is there is a fund put in place that will give whoever the care provider will be, or whatever the situation will be, that there will be dollars and cents there for his medication, his schooling, his clothing, his care," he said.

And cycling through rain on Wednesday was the least of Smith's worries. He shared several stories including: pedaling steep mountainous climbs with little-to-no shoulder; hotter than 100-degree weather; and a standoff with a wild bull on an interstate, when Smith says he was saved by the only car he'd seen for more than an hour.

Anyone who would like to contribute to Jakob’s fund can give on their GoFundMe page. Follow his daily journey at his Facebook page, Ride for Jakob.

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