Roy Wiegand's heart broke when he heard a 12-year-old from his son's Boy Scout troop died after a fight with bile duct cancer.
In response, Wiegand is planning an 83.36-mile run Friday to honor the life of Christopher Wilke and raise funds for the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, a Santa Clarita Valley-based nonprofit fighting children's cancer.
"I'm not sleeping much, I'm so wired. This is all about Christopher," Weigand said. "The other part of the motivation is what the Michael Hoefflin Foundation does, they help families in need with their bills and the emotional stress of having a child go through this disease."
The run is set to begin at 2 a.m. at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, where Wilke's favorite baseball team plays.
"When I went to the memorial service, it really struck me that this is an amazing kid who had an amazing effect on a lot of people," Weigand said.
Along the way, Weigand will stop at Wilke's church for a pep rally, another church with Wilke's Boy Scout troop and the Burbank Tennis Center, where Weigand will be running through a tunnel of tennis rackets. The Burbank Tennis Center will be donating a check to the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, Weigand said.
The plan is to finish the run at the College of the Canyons Cougar Stadium in Santa Clarita, but he's hoping to work with the city of Santa Clarita to finish at Westfield Valencia Town Center at the beginning of the firework show, Wiegand said.
"The parents still getting through it, of course," Wiegand said. "The effect that this 12-year-old had, there were 1,400 people at his funeral. Everyone has heard or wants to help and get involved."
Among the entourage of police, sheriff's deputies, Los Angeles County Fire Department officials, fellow runners and bicyclists, a 6-year-old by the name of Nicholas will be riding in a special stroller with Wiegand for the last mile of the run.
Nicholas is a Santa Clarita resident who lost part of his arm to cancer.
Weigand has been a runner for the past 10 years, and his first half-marathon was at the Santa Clarita Marathon. He has participated in marathons in Boston, Santa Clarita, Long Beach and Los Angeles. He's also a professional trumpet player.
"It's the best marathon I've participated in," Weigand said. "The music really ties in with the running and the freedom of it, the best workout you can do is go running."
To prepare for the long journey, Weigand has been running the hills in Verdugo Hills and Glendale. The entire journey will be about a 3,000 foot elevation climb, he said.
"It's all mental. I think about the big picture, one foot in front of the other and a lot of other friends coming out on bicycles," said Weigand. "It keeps me going, I've got a kid in Burbank who might ride in a stroller, too."
Burbank and Glendale police officers are expected to have cruisers and fire engines following Wiegand throughout his trek.
"It's a personal challenge, but his story has inspired me," Wiegand said.
Weigand created a Facebook page where he has been connecting with people who will run with him and who want to donate to the cause. There is also a Michael Hoefflin Foundation page where people can donate to the cause.
"What these kids are going through is way more painful and challenging than anything I'll experience running 83 miles," Weigand said.