By Brooke Shafer

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami police officer Joe McCrink capped off more than 1,000 miles of bike rides in the month of September on Tuesday.

He crossed the finish line of red streamers in front of the Miami Police Department surrounded by the cheers and whistles from family and fellow officers.

“I’ve been a police officer for 23 years and that’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to me,” said Officer McCrink.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and for years, police officers and first responders have been hitting the road on their bikes riding hundreds of miles in honor of Bella Rodriguez-Torres, who lost her battle to cancer in 2013 when she was only 10 years old.

This year’s official group bike ride was canceled because of the pandemic, but that didn’t stop Officer McCrink from getting on his bike dozens of times this month.

“In order to meet my goal and work a full-time job, I’d have to double up on the rides and then on the weekend, I would do longer rides of 60, 70 miles,” said Officer McCrink. “The thought of someone’s kid suffering, battling through it. If they can battle through that, I can get up off my butt and go ride bike.”

In total, the Miami police officer said he rode 1,024 miles and raised his goal of $20,000 for “Live Like Bella”, the organization founded in memory of Bella Rodriguez-Torres.

“A lot of us are complaining that we can’t go to the park, or we can’t go the beach, or the movie theaters,” said Officer McCrink. “The thought of children with cancer who can’t get their treatment or are just waiting to get their treatment or having their treatment pushed back, that’s what we really need to think about.”

Officer McCrink on Tuesday added he hoped this would not only help children battling cancer but bring some positivity amid unrest across the country.

“I know right now that the country is frowning on police, and from the bottom of my heart, I work with the best police officers in the country,” said Officer McCrink.

This year’s Bella’s Ball on September 26 was also canceled but held virtually amid the pandemic.

You can support Officer McCrink’s fundraising effort by clicking here.

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