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Brothers plan 80-mile biking fundraiser for Hastings man

Brothers Sean (left) and Mitchell Burns are pictured with Hastings resident Michael Ury. The boys are holding a fundraiser called "Miles for Michael." They plan to ride a total of 80 miles over two days to raise money to help Ury, who has leukemia. RiverTown Multimedia photo by Chad Richardson

Over Labor Day weekend, two young boys will take their bikes to the Cannon Valley Trail south of Hastings, where they will each cover 80 miles over two days.

Their mission is to raise money for a Hastings man, Michael Ury, who has a rare form of leukemia.

The boys, Mitchell and Sean Burns, got to know Ury through a public speaking class that Ury taught at a church in Woodbury.

Their mother, Laura Burns, had a conversation with the boys about Ury's medical condition, and about how it was taking all his energy to teach the class.

The boys wanted to help, so 7-year-old Mitchell proposed selling his bike. Then, he said, he could donate the money to Ury.

Sean, who is 8, told his brother that while selling his bike would be a nice gesture, it wouldn't be nearly enough money. The three sat around the kitchen table and brainstormed.

Cycling is big for Mitchell, as he just learned to ride his bike this summer. Soon, they had decided to do the ride and seek donations from the public for an event they have named "Miles for Michael."

They hope to raise $5,000.

"Just because they're little doesn't mean they can't make a difference," Laura Burns said of her sons. "Maybe they're not wealthy, but maybe they could use their skills to help people who can't help themselves. It makes me proud.

"We're just going for it, hoping that it will work out somehow."

The Ury family has been amazed at the work the two boys, who live in Inver Grove Heights, have done already.

"We're just so emotional about it," said Michael Ury's wife, Kim. "I don't even know how to explain this. We're in awe of these kids.

"It's absolutely incredible, the heart they have. They have so much compassion."

Ury has myelofibrosis, a form of leukemia that is affecting how blood cells in his body are created, according to his website at

He will undergo a bone marrow transplant soon and that could result in a full recovery.

The Ury family was in Washington recently to see a specialist. A potential match has been found, but more tests must be done first.

To donate to the cause, visit

The amount raised by the boys' effort isn't how the Ury family will determine if their quest was a success. They've already been successful, Kim Ury said.

"We are so touched by what the boys are doing," she said. "Even if they didn't raise any money, their caring for us has given us so much hope."

Michael Ury hasn't been able to work since 2011 due to the condition.

According to his website, "his family has accumulated a lot of medical expenses and they are struggling financially just to pay their basic living expenses. They need to raise a minimum of $130,000."

For more information, write or visit the Facebook group called "Benefit for Michael Ury."