By Amy Olivarez
Each year, they gather in the heat of the summer, bicycling more than 4,000 miles through parts of the Mojave Desert, the Rocky Mountains and the Ozarks.
They make this harrowing journey to spread awareness and hope and to raise contributions for cancer research. They are the Texas 4000 riders.
This summer, the Texas 4000 cyclists — all students from the University of Texas at Austin (UT) — go on the 70-day journey for the 12th year from Austin, Texas, to Anchorage, Alaska. This year, their goal is to raise $825,000. As of day 48, when they stopped in Longview, Wash., they have raised $557,007.
The Texas 4000 ride is not only important to the Austin community and the nation, but also to Builder Homesite Inc. (BHI). Employees of BHI, New Home Source’s parent company, have been involved with the organization for several years. That led to the company becoming a sponsor of the annual ride.
Texas 4000 2016
According to Texas4000.com, the organization was started by University of Texas engineering students, Chris and Mandy Condit, in 2004. Chris is a cancer survivor himself, diagnosed at age 11 with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Texas 4000 is Chris’s way of continuing the fight against cancer and helping others. The non-profit organization has become the longest annual charity bike in the world, raising more than $7 million in contributions for cancer research.
Every year, a select group of UT students are chosen to participate in the Texas 4000 ride. The chosen riders often have one thing in common: not cycling experience, but a passion to fight cancer. This passion often comes from family or friends being affected by the illness, or sometimes through surviving cancer themselves.
BHI and Texas 4000
Over the past several years, BHI has become more involved with Texas 400 because it complemented two of the company’s core values: philanthropy and wellness.
BHI Senior Vice President Melissa Morman has been involved with the organization for a few years and ultimately joined the Texas 4000 board of directors. Morman says BHI’s involvement with the group is a great way to expose employees to the world of philanthropy and the importance of giving back.
“Texas 4000 especially resonates with us because it is a great cause; as everyone is affected by cancer either personally, through a family member or a friend,” says Morman. “So we love that not only does Texas 4000 raise money and awareness around cancer prevention and research, they also turn out around 80 young people each year who are very philanthropic and prepared to take on anything in life. The ripple effect of developing these young people each year is very exciting.”
Every year, Morman organizes a “send-off” party for the riders, their family members and local community supporters. For the last three years, the party included a sleepover in BHI’s headquarters, a former health club and gym. The company provided food, drinks, music and entertainment from the University of Texas alumni band.
There are several ways for cyclists and non-cyclists alike to become involved with the Texas 4000:
- Support a rider. Each rider needs to raise a minimum dollar amount before embarking on the ride, though it’s not too late to donate to an individual rider: http://www.texas4000.org/riders/
- Join the Atlas send-off bike ride. Beginners, their families and friends can participate in riding various distances. If you were unable to attend this year’s ride, learn how to get involved: http://www.texas4000.org/get-involved/ride/
- Volunteer through BHI. Work at the BHI Texas 4000 events or volunteer directly with Texas 4000. Leave a comment below if you’d like to help with next year’s event.
- Attend the annual gala fund raising event. Each August, a gala fundraising event is held to welcome the riders back home and celebrate their achievements. This year’s gala will be Aug. 27 at the JW Marriott in downtown Austin: http://www.texas4000.org/event/tribute-gala/
The passion, determination and hard work that the Atlas Riders demonstrate makes this notable cause one of a kind. That’s why Builder Homesite Inc. is proud to support the Texas 4000.
Amy Olivarez is a digital content intern for New Home Source.