Texas 4000 helped the community fight cancer with an unorthodox therapy on Saturday — hope.
At a rooftop party at the downtown location of Whole Foods, Texas 4000 organized family-oriented activities to show support and provide hope for cancer patients and their families. Participants in Texas 4000, a UT student organization, complete an annual bike ride from Austin to Anchorage to raise funds for cancer research. In an effort to connect with the Austin community, two years ago Texas 4000 began hosting Hope Day to give back to the community and inspire those fighting against cancer.
Texas 4000 program director Lance Pyburn, who completed the ride in 2009, said part of the requirements for riders is to volunteer so they learn to put others
“This is kind of like the events we do along our route,” Pyburn said. “Two years ago, we realized we hadn’t done anything like that here in Austin, right in our backyard. So we wanted to do something, completely free of charge, just a fun day for people to come, listen to music, eat food and empower in the fight
Gabriela Torres, community engagement chair and Latin American studies senior, helped organize the event and said more than $1,000 was given to fund the activities at Hope Day, such as a moon bounce, and face painting and cupcake decorating booths.
“What you see is very common — people getting together to eat and have fun and that’s what we want to provide for cancer patients,” Torres said. “To let them know they’re not alone in what they’re battling and so they know that people care for them.”
Economics junior Stephen Shaffer, a Texas 4000 member, said during Hope Day he was not there to fight cancer, which has stolen more from him than anything else in the world. Shaffer has lost multiple family members to cancer, and has a aggressive form of cancer himself.
“I’m just here to enjoy the support that’s there,” Shaffer said. “I get to give a little support, and receive a little support.”
Anjali Bhattacharjee, an architectural engineering and Plan II senior who is riding this summer, said although she has done long-distance cycling before, she is still worried about biking all the way to Alaska. However, she said riding an average of 70 miles per day for over 70 days will be worth it.
“Texas 4000 is so much more than raising money,” Bhattacharjee said. “It gives you a platform to raise awareness.”