I would ride 4,000 miles
All y’all come back now.
Lloydminster is ready to say that again in Texas lingo to a new set of young cyclists pedalling for cancer from Austin Texas, to Anchorage Alaska, as they did a year ago.
The 26 riders on the 2017 Texas 4000 team named for the 4,000 mile trek, will make an overnight pit stop in Lloydminster Sunday evening around 5 p.m.
“All we’re doing is making them feel comfortable and giving them a good meal and giving them a good place to rest,” said Dick Arie, who is hosting the group with his wife Donna.
The couple buys into the Texas 4000 team mission to engage communities along the way in the fight against cancer.
The group from the University of Texas is taking the Ozark Route from east Texas, north to Ontario and through Western Canada, to Alaska.
The Aries organized a welcome party last year too, as they decided not to get involved in the Border City’s annual Relay for Life.
“We did Relay for Life for 14 years and when that was sort of over (for us), we found this niche that nobody was doing in Lloydminster,” said Arie.
“The young people stop over here overnight, so her and I took it on.”
Texas 4000 relies on the generosity of its hosts along three routes to help the team throughout their summer journey, by taking them in along the way.
The party is accompanied by two vans, a small car and a trailer.
The cyclists are coming from North Battleford and will get an RCMP escort to Lloydminster Comprehensive High School, where they will spend the night sleeping on the gym floor.
“They will drop off their vehicles, shower, and then we’ve got a meal set up for them at Grace United Church,” said Arie.
There, Mayor Gerald Aalbers is expected to welcome the cyclists on behalf of the Border City.
The meal is being sponsored by the Rotary Club of Lloydminster and will include a special “fireside” speaker and presentation.
Barb Russell, the mother of 41-year-old brain cancer survivor Jarrod Russell, will talk about what it’s like to be a mom of a child diagnosed with cancer, and how that affects families.
There will also be a slide show of her son’s journey from surviving cancer to his ranking as the top fundraiser in Canada the past two years in the Great Cycle Challenge for SickKids Foundation.
“Jarrod’s going to be answering questions based on the talks,” said his sister, Lana Lane, with her dad Wayne, and sister Tami also taking part.
Arrangements to book Jarrod as a guest were made a year ago when Lane and Donna Arie met the Texas 4000 group and learned about their charity cancer ride.
There is no active fundraising for the Americans’ cause during their lay over to keep local fundraising dollars in the community and not have to deal with the exchange rate.
“There are some people who are trying to get Relay for Life up and running again (as strong as it used to be), and I wouldn’t like people to go to the community and try to get money twice a year for the same cause,” said Arie.
Having said that, he noted Lloydminster cancer survivor George Quickstad told Texas 4000 riders last year that if somebody, somewhere hadn’t raised money for the experimental drug that cured him, he wouldn’t be alive to make the point.
Closer to home, Arie said his wife Donna will be cancer free for 20 years this fall.
“I’m pretty proud of her; she’s doing really well,” he said.
The couple plans to bid the cyclists farewell after a Monday morning breakfast at Cora’s Restaurant, sponsored by Border City Rotary.
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