UT Students to Bike from Austin to Anchorage
By Anabella Cooper
Reporting Texas TV
AUSTIN, Texas- – Fifty University of Texas at Austin students will ride their bikes 4,000 miles this summer to Anchorage, Alaska, to raise cancer awareness with the nonprofit organization Texas 4000.
The nonprofit organization fundraises and advocates for cancer awareness. Students have a lot of work to do before they leave for the trip.
Each rider has a fundraising goal they must reach. The team calls people from all over the country to secure donations and hosts for riders to stay with along the way. Ultimately, the students have to complete a 100 mile bike ride in under eight hours before they leave for Alaska, all while living up to their motto, “fighting cancer every mile.”
Fundraising chair Georgia Winfield, a UT sophomore, ensures riders meet their fundraising goals before the summer. She and the other leadership team members meet each week to provide updates and discuss ongoing goals.
During each meeting they select a Rider of the Week. When Winfield could not attend the Feb. 6 meeting, the other leaders used the absence as an opportunity to select her as Rider of the Week, citing her outstanding leadership and encouragement to her teammates.
“It was just really nice because we had a big fundraising deadline coming up. I feel like I’ve been putting a lot into that and just kind of being recognized for that was really awesome,” Winfield said.
Matt Winningham, who serves as the Equipment and Gear chair, was among the leadership team that chose Winfield for Rider of the Week.
“She’s always giving people opportunities, you know, to meet with her and talk about ways that they can better reach their goals and things like that. So she’s really dedicated to the success of everyone,” Winningham said.
Coming into college, Winfield sought an organization that would allow her to advocate for cancer. In high school, Winfield’s father and sister were diagnosed with cancer in a five year span. This sparked her involvement in cancer advocacy.
She was active in “Relay for Life” and organized a hair donation drive, and by the time she graduated high school, her dad and sister entered remission.
She wanted to find others at UT who were passionate about creating a difference. Winfield said she pedals every mile for them, and for anyone who has been impacted by cancer.
As her training continues, she has gotten to hear more stories from her teammates about why they ride and what inspired them to join Texas 4000, as well as those that support them.
“A lot of people are so open with us and want to hear about what we are doing, whether it’s their experiences with cancer or someone they love who has been impacted, it’s just been really incredible to see that kind of vulnerability,” Winfield said.
The send off for Texas 4000 is May 19. Riders continue to train and fundraise while they spread cancer awareness. As of March 3, Winfield had raised $7,163 toward her $10,000 goal.