AUSTIN, Tex. — On the longest annual charity bicycle ride in the world, the Texas 4000 team will be rolling through St. George on Tuesday, June 16th, just 18 days after departing from Austin, Texas, on its way to Anchorage, Alaska. While in St. George, the 2015 Texas 4000 Team will celebrate and share hope, knowledge and charity with friends and family before continuing on the 70-day journey.
The 72 undergraduate and graduate students from The University of Texas at Austin will brave the rain, sleet, wind, snow, heat and pedal more than 4,000 miles in the fight against cancer. After 18 months of leadership development training, volunteering, fundraising, and cycling, riders are put to the test throughout their summer ride to Alaska.
Along their journey, they will visit with cancer survivors, patients, caregivers and communities to make educational presentations about cancer prevention and early detection.They also use this time to offer hope, encouragement and share their personal stories to cancer fighters of all ages and to those who have been affected by the disease. Every encounter is an inspirational story the riders carry with them on their journey and quest to fight cancer.
“This ride comes with some obvious physical demands and perhaps less than obvious, emotional demands,” said Texas 4000 Executive Director, Jen Thomas. “It’s incredibly encouraging for the riders to be supported by the people of St. George and have the opportunity to share their stories about how they pursue this ride in hopes of living in a cancer-free society.”
The 2015 riders, the 12th team since Texas 4000’s inception in 2004, began their journey in Austin on May 30, with a 70-mile community bike ride called the ATLAS Ride from Cedar Park to Lampasas, Texas. From there, the riders separate into three routes, Rockies, Sierra, and Ozarks, as they continue on a ride twice as long as the Tour de France.
“This ride serves as a metaphor for the difficult battle cancer patients wage each day: A long and difficult road, with hard days and easier ones, good days, and not so good days,” said Chris Brubaker, a ride director on the Sierra route. “This is a difficult trip for me on many levels, but I have known so many people with cancer who bravely, fiercely and with determination, fought this awful disease. I ride for those people. Thinking of them is what literally gets me up the next hill or mountain.”
Texas 4000 began 12 years ago when Chris Condit, a UT Austin student and cancer survivor, sought a way to share a message of hope, knowledge and charity to those with cancer. Since then, Texas 4000 has sent more than 540 riders on their bicycles, traveling more than two million miles to honor those affected by cancer.
Collectively, these riders have raised more than $4.5 million in the fight against cancer, funding cancer research projects at MD Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas Biomedical Engineering Department, and survivorship programs such as the LIVESTRONG Navigational Services Center. Students have the opportunity to serve on a grantmaking committee upon their return from the summer ride, helping to determine where a portion of their hard-earned fundraising dollars will be contributed.
“If any message should be endorsed, it is that the fight against cancer cannot be won alone,” said Thomas. “A disease this broad that spans so many lives and all ages, ethnicities, races, and genders requires the persistent strength, support, and knowledge of the entire community to overcome.”
To learn more about the incredible people that make up the 2015 Texas 4000 team, to make a donation or to read the riders’ blogs, visit www.texas4000.org.
About Texas 4000
Texas 4000 is a nonprofit organization dedicated to cultivating student leaders and engaging communities in the fight against cancer. Each year a team of dedicated University of Texas students brave the elements to complete a more than 4,000-mile bike ride from Austin, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska sharing hope, knowledge and charity along the way. Over the course of their 18-month involvement with Texas 4000, riders train, fundraise and develop as leaders and volunteers in the community. As the flagship annual program, the Texas 4000 70-day summer ride is the longest annual charity bike ride in the world.
To date Texas 4000 has raised more than $4.5 million for the fight against cancer and made grants to organizations such as MD Anderson Cancer Center, the University of Texas Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, UT Southwestern Medical Center, as well as local cancer charities along the ride routes to Alaska. In addition to developing tomorrow’s leaders, Texas 4000 organizes and performs numerous charity events throughout the year, including the ATLAS Ride send-off and the Texas 4000 Tribute Gala.
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