Texas 4000 team to brake in St. George


When Emmy Laursen made the 4,000-mile trek on bicycle from Austin, Texas, to Anchorage, Alaska, last summer, she did so for her father who died from cancer in 2012.

She said she heard stories from others who lost family members to the disease and shared her own memories along the way.

The 70-day excursion provided her a way to raise money for cancer research and also honor her father, and Laursen said it was all part of Texas 4000 — an annual charity ride where 72 undergraduate and graduate University of Texas students make the trip in the “fight against cancer.”

Laursen, now Texas 4000 program coordinator, said Tuesday the team will pedal through St. George for its 18th day of the journey.

After a two-day stop at Zion National Park, the participants arrive at Summit Athletic Club, 1532 E. 1450 South, between 1 and 2 p.m.

The program’s organizers encourage locals to meet the riders, sharing optimism that cancer research and a bit of hope can make change, Laursen said.

“By riding to different cities and stopping along the way, they are able to spread hope and knowledge,” she said. “It’s about molding these young leaders into the next generation of cancer fighters.”

Laursen said during her participation in the 2014 trek, stops like the one in St. George next week allowed her to heal from her loss and help others heal as well.

The Texas 4000 members might just inspire St. George residents to make a difference, said Jen Thomas, Texas 4000 executive director.

“This ride comes with some obvious physical demands and perhaps less than obvious emotional demands,” Thomas said. “It’s incredibly encouraging for the riders to be supported by the people of St. George and have the opportunity to share their stories about how they pursue this ride in hopes of living in a cancer-free society.”

This year’s team is Texas 4000’s 12th since the organization’s beginning in 2004.

The participants’ journey ensued May 30 in Austin, and the team separates into three routes before they meet up in Anchorage: the Ozarks, Rockies and Sierras — the route that passes through Southern Utah.

Laursen said once the team finishes the trek, it will donate money earned for cancer research.

More than a mere ride, Texas 4000’s trek symbolizes the uphill battle cancer patients and their loved ones face, said Chris Brubaker, a ride director on the Sierra route.

“This ride serves as a metaphor for the difficult battle cancer patients wage each day: a long and difficult road, with hard days and easier ones, good days, and not so good days,” Brubaker said. “This is a difficult trip for me on many levels, but I have known so many people with cancer who bravely, fiercely and with determination, fought this awful disease. I ride for those people. Thinking of them is what literally gets me up the next hill or mountain.”

For updates on the team’s progress, visit texas4000.org.

See original article here.