Each year, students from the University of Texas embark on a 70-day, 4000 mile bike tour from Austin, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska called Texas 4000. The riders are split into teams/routes that aim to spread hope, knowledge and charity along their routes in addition to raising $500,000 to support cancer charities across the United States and Canada.
Texas 4000’s executive director, Jen Garza, and development and program coordinator (and former rider), Kathryn Flowers, heard about YACC and asked us to submit an application. Our stars (and missions) were aligned, and the organization granted YACC $10,000 USD!
“From the start, it was a great experience,” said Flowers. “From the moment we first solicited a proposal from YACC, they were eager and excited to be involved.”
In addition to their financial support, the riders were interested in connecting with YACC’s survivor network in the Canadian cities on their trail. Earlier in July the riders met up with survivors in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg.
“We are happy to report that from our perspective, the events were an overwhelming success. One of the Ozarks riders, Emmy Laursen, said, ‘Everyone really enjoyed meeting the YACC members in Edmonton. Thank you so much for setting it up!’ Our riders on the Rockies route were similarly effusive about their Calgary event, which they said was one of their most memorable interactions of the trip,” said Flowers.
“A great part of what Texas 4000 does is connect those battling cancer with a network of people that believe in them and want to help, so meeting the YACC network really inspired them and they loved hearing everyone’s stories. As a staff member, my only regret was that I couldn’t be in Canada this year to be a part of it. I am so glad we were able to donate to YACC, and can’t wait to hear how Retreat Yourself BC goes.”
Notes from the host cities
It was an awe inspiring evening for a few of us Localife Calgary members who met with nine members of the Texas 4000 bike team at a local pub. It was a fun-filled evening as we heard stories of their travels with long days — typically over 150km on the bike. It was heartwarming to meet this down-to-earth group who were quite interested to hear our stories, as well. It is amazing that they give so freely of themselves, taking the summer away from school for this ride. We are so fortunate to have kind-hearted people such as this group to help fund our programs.
What an amazing night and opportunity! I got to meet this group of inspiring individuals tonight who are cycling from Texas to Alaska in order to raise funds and awareness for cancer! I am so honoured to have gotten the chance to share my story with them, but also hear so many of their stories, how cancer has affected their lives, and the reason they ride! Thank you so much for letting me be part of this!
What an inspirational group of people! I am honoured to have shared my story with you! But thank you for what what you are doing!
On an unseasonably warm July 15, Localife Vancouver leaders Bernadette Leno and Lisa Couture met 22 of the Sierra Route riders of Texas 4000 for the official cheque presentation. Warm and smiling faces greeted us as we met at Canada Place near the Pan Pacific Hotel. After handshakes and hellos we ventured off to share one of our favourite Canadian traditions with cool-down beverages from Tim Horton’s.
After the presentation, we found a lovely shaded area of stairs where each person sat down and the real conversation began. It was here that we really began to get to know one another. Bernadette and Lisa had the opportunity to explain who we are, our interaction with YACC, and what this particular donation meant to us personally as well as to those who would receive its benefits.
We listened as several riders expressed their motivation for participation in the ride and what Texas 4000 meant to them. We learned that both our groups have similar attitudes towards teamwork, cancer advocacy and a desire to give to those we love. As each person opened up and shared their personal stories, we felt more united and like friends than the acquaintances we were just moments before. We lingered as long as we could but eventually had to say farewell to our new friends and wish them well on the rest of their ride. Congratulations to the Sierra Route and all Texas 4000 Riders. Wish we could be there in Anchorage to welcome you across the finish line!