A Bike Ride To Fight Cancer

LOCAL STUDENTS RIDE TO ALASKA TO RAISE MONEY AND AWARENESS

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MORE THAN 60 UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS students have embarked on a summer-long bike ride to Anchorage, Alaska, all in the name of cancer research.

Texas 4000 is the longest annual charity bike ride in the world. Participants bike over 4,500 miles in 70 days on one of three routes that all ultimately lead them to Alaska. This year’s ride marks the organization’s 15th anniversary. In those years, Texas 4000 has raised over 8 million dollars for the fight against cancer.

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On the ride to Alaska, teams stop to present grants to treatments centers and cancer research organizations, including MD Anderson, Texas Children’s Hospital, and Young Adult Cancer Canada, among others. Riders also present educational presentations regarding prevention and early detection in several of the towns they travel through.

Each route takes teams through a different part of America before they reunite to finish the ride together. Riders on the Sierra Route travel through the Southwest, then make their way up the West Coast to reach Canada. The Rockies Route go north from Austin and cut through the Rocky Mountains before crossing the border into Alberta, Canada. The Ozarks Route takes riders into Canada via the American Midwest. All three teams will meet up in Canada to finish their journey to Alaska as one group.

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While the summer ride itself receives the most attention, the Texas 4000 program is 18 months long in total. Students engage in an application process to be selected for Texas 4000 more than a year in advance of the ride. Upon selection, riders begin fundraising towards their personal goal, each being at least $4,500, approximately a dollar per mile.

In addition to fundraising, riders dedicate themselves to volunteering in the Austin community during the months leading up to their ride. They coordinate accommodations for the trip, counting on the generosity of churches, schools, and host families for the support they need.

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More than 750 riders have completed the Texas 4000 ride in its history, logging approximately 4,270,000 miles along the way. To start each day on the journey, riders gather in a circle to consider their mission and share their dedications for the day. Dedications often honor the memory of a loved one or of someone they have met on the road.

The ride is meant to be a representation, at least in a small way, of the fight against cancer—the difficulty, perseverance, and hope. Below, riders share their motivations for the ride that will take them to Alaska.

Linda Castranova, Rising Junior

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Why do you ride?
I ride to spread hope for people that can’t. I want to choose to tackle the ride with joy and humility because I think those who have a “why” to live for can bear any “how.”

What are you most looking forward to on the ride?
I want to hear what motivates other people to get out of bed in the morning, to battle cancer, or to ride their bike to Alaska.

What has the process of getting ready for the ride looked like?
It truly took a village to tackle the training process. There are countless people who got me to the start line and I plan to ride for them all the way to Alaska.

Grant McFarlin, Rising Junior

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Why do you ride?
My grandma inspired me when she was in the middle of treatment. She had such incredible hope in times of deep despair, believing in that kind of hope with her carries me through the hard days of the ride.

What are you most looking forward to on the ride?
I’m most excited to be covering ground, getting to see new places and faces, and I love hearing stories from strangers all along our route.

What has the process of getting ready for the ride looked like?
The best part of training was getting to know an incredible group of people that were more than willing to give up so much for the mission of Texas 4000. Those friendships were really impactful and I think I saw a side of UT that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

Lizzey Hill, Rising Senior

ut austin texas 4000 bike

Why do you ride?
I ride for all the people that cannot. When I joined the organization, I did not have a personal connection to cancer, but to get to hear stories and to communicate that to everyone around me when they personally cannot, is such a gift.

What are you most looking forward to on the ride?
I’m most excited about getting excited to talk to strangers about our mission.

What has the process of getting ready for the ride looked like?
In training and fundraising, I’ve met an incredible team that I’ve grown closer and closer to. Our whole team is getting to Alaska because people have fought for them to get there.

 

Read the original article by Avery Tanner HERE.