Former Kingwood resident spreads cancer awareness in the community

Former Kingwood resident spreads cancer awareness in the community

On Saturday, May 30, bikers will embark on a 70 day ride from Texas to Alaska, logging more than 4,000 miles. The team will divide into three groups, taking routes through the Sierra, Rockies and Ozarks, later reuniting in Canada for the last week and a half of the ride.

Although University of Texas at Austin student, Jeffery Saeling cannot participate in the 2015 Texas 4000 bike ride for cancer, he is determined to do his part raising awareness for the cause.

“The Texas 4000 is a pretty novel idea,” said Saeling. “It’s a bike ride from Austin, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska for cancer awareness.”

On Saturday, May 30, bikers will embark on a 70 day ride from Texas to Alaska, logging more than 4,000 miles. The team will divide into three groups, taking routes through the Sierra, Rockies and Ozarks, later reuniting in Canada for the last week and a half of the ride.

“Our goal is three-fold – hope, knowledge and charity,” said Saeling. “I’d say hope is definitely the most potent one. You have knowledge; for example, on the bike ride there, we have awareness programs, like cancer prevention programs. We also have cancer screenings on campus.

“We’re required to raise a dollar for every mile that we bike. Most students are required to raise $4,500, but there are some people that go above and beyond. There’s one person on the 2015 team who has raised $25,000.”

Saeling is passionate about cancer awareness. Although none of his family members have been affected by cancer, Saeling is no stranger to cancer’s devastating effects.

“I had a good friend pass away pretty early in high school,” said Saeling. “It taught me that death doesn’t discriminate between which life it takes. I learned pretty early on that no one is exempt from the sadness of losing someone.

“There are countless other causes out there, like heart disease, diabetes and HIV and AIDS. But for me, Texas 4000 was an organization that really aligned with what I value in the sense that not only are we biking 4,000 miles, we’re also actively trying to raise money and awareness towards this cause.”

Saeling intended to ride with the 2015 team, but extenuating circumstances caused him to defer to the 2016 team. This did not stop him from participating in the pre-ride fundraising and volunteering activities.

“For the most part we volunteer at a lot of fitness events,” said Saeling. “We also do something called ‘Hope Day,’ where we go out in the community and share what we’re doing, and provide hope. It’s an organization where you get what you put out. If you’re not really proactive about getting to meet the people in your community, you can sit back and volunteer and do just the bare minimum. But if you really put yourself out there, and talk to the people in the community and see what they have to say, that’s when you make your experience with the organization more valuable.

“For me, at Hope Day, all I had to do was hand out fliers at a table, but when I was on break, I was actively trying to meet people and talk about what Texas 4000 does. The feedback you receive is incredible. People are always willing to share, and you never know what kind of stories you’re going to get. That’s my favorite part of the organization.”

So far, the 2015 has raised around $600,000. The money is donated to different organizations like MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas Biomedical Engineering Department and the LIVESTRONG Foundation, where it will be put to use funding cancer research and support services.

“Texas 4000 is about restoring hope to the people who are fighting cancer,” said Saeling. “I think that is what resonates in people the most. It’s a very powerful way to give back to the community.”

For more information visit www.texas4000.org.

Written by Melanie Feuk

See original article here.