NORTH FORK — The longest annual charity bicycle ride in the world, the Texas 4000 team, will be rolling through North Fork on Saturday, June 14, just 15 days after departing from Austin, Texas on to their final destination of Anchorage, Alaska.
While in North Fork, the 2014 Texas 4000 Team will celebrate and share Hope, Knowledge and Charity with friends and family before continuing on their 70-day journey.
Seventy-nine, undergraduate and graduate, students from the University of Texas at Austin brave the rain, sleet, wind, snow, heat and will pedal over 4,500 miles in support of the fight against cancer. Along their journey, riders will volunteer at community events that contribute in the fight against cancer and visit with cancer survivors, patients, caregivers, and family members 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 Garza. “It’s incredibly encouraging for the riders to be supported by the people of North Fork, and have the opportunity to share their stories about how they pursue this ride in hopes of living in a cancer-free society.”
In its eleventh year, 79 student riders began their journey in Austin on May 31st, 2014 with a 70-mile community bike ride called ATLAS. From there, the riders head north, separating into three routes: Rockies, Sierra, and Ozarks as they continue on a ride twice as long as the Tour de France.
“The ride itself 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. This is a difficult trip for me on many levels,” says Ben Keeler “But I have known so many people with cancer who bravely, fiercely, and with determination, fought this dreadful disease. I ride for those people.”
Texas 4000 began 11 years ago when Chris Condit, a University of Texas 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 over 400 riders on their bicycles, traveling more than 2 million miles to honor those affected by cancer. Collectively, these riders have raised more than $4 million for 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.
If any message should be endorsed, it is that the fight against cancer cannot be won alone. 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 Texas 4000 team, to make a donation or read the riders’ blogs, visit www.texas4000.org.
About Texas 4000
Texas 4000 is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting cancer and cultivating the next generation of leaders. 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 million for the fight against cancer and made grants to organizations such as MD Anderson Cancer Center, the LIVESTRONG Foundation, and UT’s Dept. of Biomedical Engineering. 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.