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Mark Leach, Cycliad, Marshall Cancer Care Center
This will be Mark Leach's third year to ride for Marshall Cancer Care Center in Cycliad event.

Thu, May 31, 2018 at 10:10 PM

From Natchez to Nashville — Cycliad rider raising money for Cancer Care Center

Third year for drug rep to cycle for Marshall Medical.

Cycliad the Deep South is a 444-mile long bike ride designed to raise money for cancer centers, including the Marshall Cancer Care Center. It starts this weekend. 

Pharmaceutical rep Mark Leach is riding on behalf of Marshall Cancer Care Center. As of June 1, Leach had raised $1,776 or 118 percent of his goal. 

“My life has been impacted by cancer,” Leach said, citing a long list of family members who have died from or are suffering with the disease. 

“Riding a bike is not complicated,” he said. “If I can help people with their quality of life, that’s why I do it.”

Leach, 60, of Gardendale, readily admits the ride will be a challenge. The former runner turned cyclist is in good shape but facing an average of pedaling 90 miles a day is daunting. His wife, Beth, is concerned, he said. If he needs a rest, he tells her, there is a support van he can climb in for a break. Lodging and food also are supplied for cyclists.

The ride begins Sunday, June 3 and runs through Friday, June 8. 

Ride benefits UAB Cancer Network members

Bikers will ride along the historic Natchez Trace Parkway, which runs from Natchez, Miss., to Nashville. It will benefit the 12 UAB Health System Cancer Community Network members across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi.   

Leach has been riding for Marshall since the Cycliad started three years ago. 

“He believes strongly in the purpose – to provide the much needed navigation assistance to cancer patients, whether that need be clinical, emotional or financial,” said Cindy Sparkman, director of the Marshall Cancer Care Center.   “This year, he has gone a step further by encouraging his co-worker, Brad Stodghill, who also calls on our cancer center, to ride with him.  These two guys are going above and beyond to help ensure we are able to meet the needs of our patients and we can’t thank them enough!”  

Every dollar helps local community

One hundred percent of the funds raised by cyclists go to support their designated partner hospital. Riders commit to raise a minimum of $1,500 and direct it to the community in which they are working to make a difference. Their $100 registration fee counts as the first donation. 

Leach and Stodghill plan to pool what they raise and divide it among the two centers they service, Marshall Cancer Care and one in Anniston. 

To make a donation and to follow the riders’ progress each day, visit

An estimated 70,000 new cases of cancer will be treated at hospitals served by the UAB network this year.  The Deep South Cancer Foundation is a non-profit that exists to fund cancer programs, promote prevention, drive awareness, and provide research funding, all with the goal of improving the quality of life for individuals, families, and communities throughout the Deep South.