June 26, 2019 – The Eugene Family YMCA will host 28 Texas bicyclists on Saturday, July 6—partway through their 70-day, 4,000-mile journey to Alaska to raise money for cancer research.

The riders, from the University of Texas at Austin, are on the longest annual charity bike ride in the world.

“This is the perfect opportunity to meld the Y’s mission and programs with that of Texas 4000,” said Eugene Family YMCA CEO Brian Steffen. “Our Y relies on science for its evidence-based, disease-prevention programs to improve our community’s health and wellness. These riders are keeping fit and healthy by riding to raise money for scientists involved in cancer research. This is a natural partnership that also fits our focus on social responsibility.”

Texas 4000 was started in 2004 by two University of Texas at Austin students to fight cancer by raising funds to donate to cancer research organizations. The Eugene Family YMCA will provide access to its facility for the riders to shower, sleep, shoot hoops, swim, stretch and enjoy a yoga class. Y staff and volunteers are serving snacks upon the riders’ arrival, dinner and breakfast.

On Saturday, July 6 at 6:30 p.m., the community is welcome to join the riders in the Y’s Beck Center to learn their reasons for riding and their messages of prevention and early detection. In turn, the Y has invited alumni from LIVESTRONG at the YMCA®, an evidence-based program that helps adult cancer survivors reclaim their health and wellbeing following a cancer diagnosis. LIVESTRONG at the YMCA® participants will share their experiences with the riders. “We are proud to be part of raising cancer awareness and research dollars, fostering youth development and healthy living among these college-age riders and giving back to our community,” said Colleen Glick, LIVESTRONG at the YMCA Program Coordinator. “We are here to show them that Eugene and its YMCA care about their success—not just for the riders’ personal accomplishments, but also for the fight against cancer.”

During the Texas 4000 journey, the riders split up into three groups to make their way to Anchorage by way of the Sierras, the Rockies and the Ozarks. The Eugene Family YMCA will host the Sierra group, which journeys through West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Nevada, then heads north upthe California, Oregon and Washington coasts and into British Columbia and the Yukon before finally reaching Alaska.

“Eugene is going to be an amazing stop,” said University of Texas student and bicyclist Julie DeLaRosa, who rides for her family members who have battled cancer. “We are beyond grateful for the Y’s generosity. They are helping in our quest to spread hope, knowledge and charity in the fight against cancer!”

Locally-owned Hole in the Wall Barbecue has generously donated dinners for each of the riders for Saturday night. Positive Community Kitchen is providing snacks for the following day’s ride and Pacific Integrative Oncology is providing breakfast in Eugene for the riders.

Beth Casper