Bike ride through city to raise cancer awareness

Published 3:07 pm Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Texas 4000 team will be stopping in Vicksburg this Friday on their trek from Austin, Texas, to Anchorage, Alaska, just 14 days after the ride started.

The goal for the team while in Vicksburg is to spread the message, knowledge and charity that the program will teach about the fight against cancer with friends and family around as they continue the 70-day journey.

“The ride comes with some obvious physical demands and perhaps less than obvious emotional demands,” Texas 4000 Executive Director Jen Thomas said. “It’s incredibly encouraging for the riders to be supported by the people of Vicksburg and have the opportunity to share their stories about how they pursue this ride in hopes of living in a cancer-free society.”

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Seventy-two undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Texas will brave the elements and ride 4,000 miles in order to help promote their message in the fight against cancer. The Texas students will visit with cancer patients, survivors, caregivers and communities in order to help spread the awareness of early detection and the prevention of cancer.

Each year of the Texas 4000, the team takes a new path in accordance to the overall miles traveled. Every 25 miles traveled, the team makes a stop on their path and the city of Vicksburg will be one of the stops on their path to Alaska.

Friday, day 14 of the journey, the riders will stop in Vicksburg before heading to Greenville the next day.

“The new path this year takes us on a windy road and Vicksburg happens to be one of the stops,” program coordinator Emmy Laursen said. “The riders liked what they saw on the Ozarks path and they’re looking forward to the stop.”

There are three different groups with the Texas 4000 and each group takes a different path to Alaska. Twenty-seven riders will participate on the Ozarks route, which includes major stops in New Orleans, Little Rock, Chicago and more. When leaving from New Orleans, the group will make a visit to Vicksburg before leaving for Little Rock.

“It’s a convenient stop for the group,” Laursen said. “It’s a nice little break to help spread the idea of what our mission is for.”

The Texas 4000 started 12 years ago with a Texas student named Chris Condit. A former UT student and cancer survivor, Condit sought to find a way to spread the knowledge of surviving and beating cancer.

Ever since Condit’s vision, the Texas 4000 has sent more the 540 bike riders, traveled more than two million miles and raised more than $4.5 million for those affected by cancer.

The money generated from each journey goes to funding cancer research projects at MD Anderson Cancer Center at The University of Texas Biomedical Engineering Department and also survivorship programs dealing with cancer.

Levi Joseph, a ride director for the Ozarks route, admitted that it is a very challenging route to complete, but the ride serves as a metaphor for those currently battling cancer, “A long and difficult road, with hard days and easier ones, good days, and not so good days.”