A teenager from Corner Brook is cycling from St. Anthony to St. John's in memory of her mother, and to raise money for cancer patients who have to travel across the island to receive treatment.

Maike van Niekerk, 19, said her mother died of breast cancer, but that experience has inspired her to reach out and help others.

She hired a trainer and spent her summer peddling, leaving St. Anthony on Friday to make the cross-island trip to bring attention to cancer patients who have to travel to St. John's for radiation treatment.

Maike van Niekerk cycling Corner Brook

Maike van Niekerk says her cycling trip across Newfoundland represents the journey some cancer patients in the province have to make to receive radiation treatment in St. John's. (CBC)

"It had a good symbolization. I could represent the travelling of the cancer patients themselves, as well as all the struggles that I'll be having going up those hills just like the struggles that they're having," said van Niekerk .

"I just wanted to experience some of the things that the cancer patients were experiencing."

The trip is called Katrin's Karepackage, in honour of van Niekerk's mother, a nearly 1,100-kilometre trek across Newfoundland with a goal to raise $30,000.

Ambitious plan surprises family

Money raised will go toward a partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society to help pay for the cost of travel for patients who need to get their treatments in St. John's.

While van Niekerk has helped with fundraisers in the past, this is her most ambitious project. She said her family was a little shocked when she let them in on her plan.

"At first my dad was a little skeptical of the whole idea, but then as he realized that I was really training and working hard [so] he got on board," said van Niekerk.

Van Niekerk has already raised close to $26,000 of her target, with the bulk of her journey still ahead of her, and hopes her mother would be happy with her efforts.

"I think she'd be extremely proud of me. I think she'd be kind of in a bit of disbelief just because she wouldn't think that I would bike across the province," she said.

If the trip goes as planned, van Niekerk expects to bike into St. John's on Aug. 13.