Over the past eight years, Frederick Hoffman has single handedly raised more than $300,000 for the National Leukemia Society by pedaling his bicycle throughout the United States and gaining pledges for his efforts.
As a young boy, Hoffman was ostracized by his peers because of his learning disability. Having no friends, he focused his attention on the American space program. He a goal to ride his bicycle the distance the Apollo astronauts would fly to the moon: 250,000 miles. To date, Hoffman has pedaled more than one million miles, to the moon and back twice.
There is increasing pressure on national health organizations to solicit funding from outside sources for research so that disease control and cure can become a reality. The National Leukemia Society is one such organization. Leukemia has had a profound impact on Hoffman's life. Not only did his mother die from the disease, but all of his mother's paternal relatives did as well. Hoffman has dedicated his life's efforts toward supporting research on this terrible disease.
Hoffman works as a custodian at a church in his hometown of River Edge. He plans his cycling trips during the fall, winter and spring months. Before he starts out, he contacts chapters of the Leukemia Society in cities on his route. The Chapters mobilize and assist him in getting people to pledge a few cents for every mile he pedals. His trips, on average, are about 3,000 miles each. Donations on Hoffman's behalf are made to the local Leukemia Society chapters. He has crisscrossed the United States, all during the summer months. After a trip he makes follow-up calls to the people who made pledges.
When Hoffman is in a town he calls the local newspapers, television and radio stations to promote awareness of his cause. Often, he is asked to tell his story to local schools and organizations, further expanding his donation base and educating others about the disease and the need for continued support from the private sector.
Hoffman has kept a detailed log of his journeys. His bike, the Ruthie 3, named after his mother, is outfitted with an odometer, altimeter and his personal supplies. This is his only means of transportation on a trip.
This year, Hoffman realized one of his life's dreams. He was invited by NASA to a space shuttle launch and he met Apollo astronaut, Fred Haise. Hoffman believes a cure for leukemia will be found within his lifetime and he continues to work unselfishly toward that goal.