While some were spending the Fourth of July celebrating, David Burns was cycling 125 miles through the heat, and he had one person on his mind, his niece Michelle James.
"I thought what she's going through, I could surely do this," said Burns. "I mean she just kind of powered me through it. As strong as she is surely I could do it."
16-year-old Michelle was diagnosed with leukemia on June 11, just days after dancing at a recital, and has been in the hospital ever since.
"I had a recital a week before I came here and I really don't understand how I survived that very well," she said. "Looking back on how hard it was on my body and to think I was fighting leukemia, it's crazy."
Burns's ride began in Harrison County, making a pit-stop at Ruby Memorial Hospital to visit Michelle.
"She's just very good spirited," he said. "I mean she loves everything. She's very special."
"She's very strong," said Michelle's mother Lori James. "She has her breaking points, but it's understandable. I don't know how she's doing it."
While Michelle fights, Burns and the rest of her family, friends, and community rally around her to offer support and raise awareness.
"Just to know the disease, what you really get from it and the the amount of time that you have to take the treatments and you're in the hospital away from home," Burns said. "Your everyday life changes."
"It's just so overwhelming how supportive everyone's been," Michelle said. "Some people I don't even know have donated so much to us to help out and it's really inspiring."
Michelle said she's grateful for the support, especially from her uncle, and is looking forward to dancing again. Her family hopes she can return home soon, but will still have to come back for treatments.
"I still can't get my mind over it," she said. "It's just a lot for me and it shows how much he cares about me."
So far, Burns has raised $2,000 for Michelle. If you'd like to help, his GoFundMe page can be found by clicking here.
Michelle's friends at In Step Dance and Fitness are also supporting her and will soon be selling #chellestrong t-shirts, which were designed by one of the dancers.
An additional You Caring page has also been set up for donations here.