In June, a group of students from the University of Texas at Austin will embark on a journey from Austin to Anchorage, Alaska.
The group, known as Texas 4000, is made up of 76 students on a mission to share hope knowledge and charity in the fight against cancer.
Catherine Butschi, a 2012 graduate of Tyler’s Robert E. Lee High School will make the trip.
“It's incredible to look back and see where we've started, where many of us struggled even clipping into a bike,” she said.
Now, those struggles are merely memories.
“I need to get new clips on my shoes because these are too worn out right now,” Butschi said as she hopped on her bike.
Texas 4000 riders will make the trek to Alaska on one of three different routes.
Butschi will take the Ozarks Route – riding through the American Midwest and Canada before reaching Anchorage in August.
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“When we do these really long rides I think about how many people are sitting in a chair getting chemotherapy or are hearing the news they have stage four,” she said. “I also have 3 people in my immediate family that I ride for.”
Those family members include a grandfather who smoked for decades, a grandmother who died from cancer, and Catherine’s Grandma Linda, who has battled for 20 years.
“Seeing her for the past 20 years be a warrior and champion and always have a smile on her face and not miss out on graduations or birthdays, it makes me realize the fight that she's had, and that I too can do something,” said Butschi.
Some stops along the route include cities with higher-than-average cancer death rates, where Butschi and her teammates will share information on cancer prevention and care.
“It's a collective fight,” she said. “No one can find a cure for cancer on their own.”
The team has an aggregate fundraising goal of $850,000, which includes Butschi’s personal goal of more than $2 for every mile she rides. Click here to visit her online donation page.