Biking From Texas To Alaska To Fight Cancer
I am a part of Texas 4000. We are the 2015 team who will make this year’s epic trek across the nation making our mark on the communities we ride miles to in hopes of spreading our mission.
I will be biking over 4,500 miles from Austin, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska. The Texas 4000 is a 70-day journey, founded in 2004 by Chris Condit whom battled Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This bike ride was created with one goal in mind: to spread hope, knowledge, and charity all over the nation in a battle against cancer.
You may be wondering why I ride. Why is it that I joined? It takes a lot to get someone to commit to biking almost 5,000 miles across the U.S. Some have multiple reasons for applying, but mine was just one person, my mom.
High school was rough, but I have to say that it wasn’t anything to do with boys, school, friends or any sort of teen angst and rebellion. It had to do with watching my mom succumb to this terrible disease and begin a battle that no child wishes to see their parent go through.
It was a normal day before I got a phone call. A phone call where my mom said my uncle was coming to pick her up because she needed medical attention. She assured my panicking 14-year-old self that everything was okay and she’d probably be home the next day. Nothing to worry. Except she didn’t come home for around two weeks. Her white blood cell count was too low because of the reaction she’d had to a medication, so we ended up visiting her in ICU. People in the community would bring us food and helped us in our time of need. That was one of the first times I realized that you can end up being a product of your circumstances and not your choices.
We didn’t have a say in whether or not my mom got better. I couldn’t fix her, or wave a magic wand and make everything better all at once. We had to take life as it came and hope for the best.
Luckily she got better. Over the next couple years, my mom battled not only cancer, but heart and thyroid problems. We watched her go through two surgeries, endless hospital visits, and one thing after another seemed to come up after we thought things were going to start looking up. It’s a scary sight watching your mom’s weight plummet below 100 pounds. We watched her turn to skin and bones.
The hardest part was these circumstances, as I’ll call them. They weren’t things we vocalized much. It’s not a conversation starter, and I didn’t want to hear “I’m so sorry” from people who really didn’t know what was going on inside our family. I knew those words wouldn’t help my mom. The only thing I kept thinking about was how she didn’t deserve to have cancer. No one does. So there has to be something I can do one day to try and prevent these circumstances from creeping into someone else’s family. People shouldn’t be a product of their circumstances. Everyone should be a product of their choices, and no one chooses to have cancer.
That’s where Texas 4000 became a part of my story. And that part began my second year of college. I still remember receiving the phone call that changed my life. The one that told me I was now a part of the crazy, cycling, cancer-fighting organization. From that moment on, a spark was ignited inside me that turned into a flame I know will never die. I became a part of something bigger than me; a fight against cancer.
So what does this have to do with you? We are fighting back for you and your story. This ride isn’t just ours. We want to inspire everyone we meet along the way to join the fight. We are one team with one mission. Will you join us? Learn more about us here.
Written by Abz Zeitler