This is Marlene. She just graduated from the University of Texas Austin. And this summer she and 70+ other UTAustin students are cycling from Austin to Anchorage, and raising a lot of money for cancer research and support. This is the Texas 4000 (for the 4000+ miles from Austin to Anchorage) – developing leadership skills and a new generation of advocates, volunteers, and philanthropists, plus riding a whole lot of miles. With the money raised each year, Texas 4000 awards grants to organizations focused on research or support programs, such as MD Anderson, UT Austin Biomedical Engineering for research, and Brent’s Place which provides housing for immune-compromised children undergoing cancer treatment, among others.
The riders will cover 3 different routes: Ozarks, Rockies, and Sierra. Marlene is riding the Sierra route. They started from Austin last weekend, accompanied by some extra riders to send them off. Marlene’s mom, my sister, rode along for the first 25 miles (more about her later).
The Sierra riders will cross through New Mexico, cross the desert into California, up through the Sierras, through British Columbia, and into Alaska. Each of the routes have unique challenges. But they’ll all meet up in Alaska, and ride into Anchorage August 11.
I’m going to be there to welcome her! I’m so proud of her (and all these riders). They’ve been training all year, organizing, and fundraising. Reading some of their personal statements, it’s clear that many are riding because someone close in their life has had cancer. Marlene is riding for me. You can read her statement here. I cry every time I read it. (here we are a long time ago —->)
I hope you’ll take a moment to check out their website. Take a look at what these fine young people are doing. Take a look at their routes. And if they’re coming through your area, give them a little love. If you come upon the riders, give them a shout or a thumbs up or a word of encouragement. What they’ve taken on is an awesome challenge! As someone who is no stranger to endurance events, I am blown away by the idea of this. And as someone who knows a little about endurance events, I know how much a word of encouragement can mean. There are moments when a simple thumbs up means the difference between giving up and continuing. So if you see these riders, give them some love. And thank them.
You can check out this crazy event and all of these wonderful kids at www.texas4000.org. If you have a spare minute now and then over the next 3 months, send them good, safe, strong thoughts. I’ll post updates now and then.
And to you, Marlene, and all of the other riders, good luck, stay strong, help each other out, and know you will always find a little more strength than you think you have.
I’m so proud of what you’re doing. I love you. And thank you.