Texas 4000 for Cancer Completes 70-Day Charity Ride to Alaska

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Yesterday morning 45 University of Texas students gathered in one last ride dedication circle to mark the end of an epic journey that started in Austin, and ended yesterday in Anchorage. As they huddled in the parking lot of a church in Palmer, Alaska, they went around the circle, sharing their personal stories of why they just spent 70 days on a bike in the fight against cancer. They cried, they laughed, they hugged … and they told the individual stories of people impacted by cancer who fueled their journey.

These students are part of the Texas 4000, a charity that launched on the Forty Acres eight years ago. Since that first ride, more than 350 students have made the trip and have contributed more than $2.5 million in the fight against cancer.

The ride began in Austin, Texas, on June 4 and is twice the length of the Tour de France, making it the longest annual charity bike ride in the world. (Of course, everything IS bigger in Texas.) Along the way the team has encountered record-breaking heat in Texas, wildfires in the southwest, over three weeks of rain, and countless stories and people that inspire them to keep pedaling.

An important tradition for the riders is the morning ride dedication where they share why they ride. Some ride for lost parents and grandparents, others for children and family members and friends who are still battling cancer. Many ride for people they encounter along the way—people who have opened their hearts and homes to them, giving them shelter along the route.

This year, LIVESTRONG partnered with the Texas 4000 for the ride for the first time, helping build greater awareness of the ride, and sharing LIVESTRONG’s message of survivorship to people they meet. The ride ended with a welcome bash hosted by the Anchorage Chapter of the Texas Exes, who greeted the students with lots of burnt orange, smiles, hugs—and tasty Alaskan fare.

When the Texas 4000 riders return to Austin, they will be honored at the Tribute Gala, held Saturday, August 27, 2011 at the Downtown Hyatt Regency Hotel. The event is open to the public—and Texas Exes are welcome to join in the celebration. More information can be found at www.texas4000.org.

These students embody the best in UT Austin, and share hope, knowledge and charity—and a lot of Longhorn pride—all the way from Austin to Anchorage and beyond.

 

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