Donating money (and miles) for cancer
More than 4,000 miles and $700,000 later, one Weatherford resident is doing his best to tackle cancer one bike pedal at a time.
Andrew Coulter, currently attending the University of Texas at Austin, plans to embark on a bike ride over 4,500 miles long from Austin to Anchorage in order to raise money and awareness for cancer.
The effort itself is being sponsored by the Texas 4000 organization, whose primary objective is to support cancer research projects and programs.
The organization was founded by University of Texas at Austin students Chris and Mandy Condit in 2004, after Chris was diagnosed at age 11 with Hodgkins Lymphoma but survived and went on to help others who struggled with cancer as well.
“You spread the hope and the knowledge of what cancer is, how it affects us all, and you give people hope whether they’re the ones currently fighting cancer or they know people who have been affected by it,” Coulter said.
According to the official website, the bike ride is the longest annual charity bike ride in the world and relies on host families, churches, schools and camping for accommodations.
“You really do get inspired by people’s stories and what they’ve had to go through as far as being affected by cancer,” Coulter said.
While each rider is required to raise at least $4,500, Coulter is setting his goal well above the minimum at $10,000.
“I’m pretty excited for it … you can’t help but be a little nervous about it,” he said.
What helps him overcome what initially seems like a daunting task is the sense of purpose and camaraderie he said he gets from his fellow participants.
“I am looking forward to really getting to connect with some of my teammates…you spend that long a time with a group of people, you really do kind of, no matter what almost become family,” he said.
“The money is going to cancer research, but then your money is also allowing me and my teammates to go on this ride and to spread hope and knowledge about cancer and kind of almost start our own mini-revolution.”
Having lost his grandfather to cancer, Coulter also has a personal stake in the ride.
“He’s the main reason why I’m riding,” he said.
Overall, Coulter’s main objective is to motivate others to give and bring the issue of cancer to the forefront.
“Hopefully people are inspired and really do want to try and help,” he said.
Coulter said he feels that the bike ride is a way to not only support a fundraising effort, but to also show others what type of people the organization represents.
“There are a lot of other people that see something and if they don’t agree with it and think it’s wrong, they decide they want to do something about it and that’s the type of people involved in Texas 4000; they see something they don’t agree with and do something about it,” he said.
To learn more about the Texas 4000 organization, visit http://www.texas4000.org/.
Written by Jelani Gibson
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