WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Jim Plummer is an ordinary man with an extraordinary purpose.
The 64-year-old is gearing up to participate in his seventh Great Cycle Challenge.
“It gets me outside,” he said. “It’s great exercise and relieves my anxiety.”
The Great Cycle Challenge, which spans the month of September, benefits the Children’s Cancer Research Fund. Since 2015, bikers of all ages and abilities across the country have set their own personal riding goals to meet by the end of the month.
Plummer told 12 News he first discovered the challenge on social media.
“You set your own amount of donations and how many miles you want to ride,” he explained. “It’s up to you.”
Life hasn’t always been easy for Plummer, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome nearly a decade ago.
“I wasn’t diagnosed until my mid-50s,” Plummer said. “I suffered through that most of my life.”
“Growing up in the 60s and 70s, when nothing was known about it,” he continued. “[Doctors] used labels like slow and hyperactive.”
Asperger’s is a developmental disorder on the autism spectrum. Those diagnosed with it are typically higher functioning, but may have trouble understanding social cues.
Plummer said he’s experienced those struggles firsthand.
“I like to say that, when you have Asperger’s, it’s like your brain thinks you can do stuff, but you don’t have the skills to do it,” he explained. “You can’t perform to the highest level that you’re supposed to.”
But Plummer knows how to ride a bicycle, which is why he decided to take part in his first Great Cycle Challenge back in 2017.
In his first year, Plummer said he collected around $200.
Nearly six years later, he’s raised more than $13,000 for childhood cancer research.
“Success is what you make of it,” Plummer said. “I don’t have a big job, I don’t make a lot of money, but look what I’m doing to help people and look at the [lives] I’ve touched by doing this.”
“You may not be able to write a book, but you can ride a bike and do something worthwhile,” he continued. “You have the brains — it’s just wired differently than everybody else’s.”
Plummer hopes to make a difference in the lives of those who have also experienced the peaks and valleys of life.
“It’s a very good feeling,” he said. “I’m doing something for myself and for these little kids who will hopefully have a life after this. They’re little babies … and what they have to go through just to hopefully survive, it’s terrible.”
Anyone interested in donating to Plummer’s ride can do so here.