University of Texas students to cycle to Alaska for charity

The community will have a chance to send off another class of University of Texas student cyclists before they embark on a 70-day journey to Anchorage, Alaska, to fight against cancer.

Residents can attend the free Texas 4000 send-off party, which kicks off at 1 p.m. May 30 at the LBJ fountain to mark "Day Zero" for the nonprofit's summer journey.

Each year, UT students partake in the 4,000-mile ride to Alaska after 18 months of training, fundraising and planning, said Drew Hibbert, Texas 4000 public relation chairman. The planning and fundraising is all student-driven, he said.

Texas 4000 so far this year—the organization's 10th anniversary—has raised $4 million through fundraisers and has donated more than $1 million to fund cancer research, according to the group's website.

Texas 4000 was founded by UT alums Chris and Mandy Condit, who were engineering students at the time. Chris, a cancer survivor, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma as a child.

Hibbert sees Texas 4000 as a beacon of solidarity for those being treated for cancer.

"What resonates with me the most is hope. 'You're not alone' is the message I try to portray to people," Hibbert said. "A fight like (cancer) can get pretty depressing and be really hard, but Texas 4000 is a way to show that they're not alone and there are people who trying to help them by doing anything they possibly can."

Hibbert, who is still completing his training for the Alaska trip, said he's excited about joining next year's class of cyclists.

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell and Austin Police Department Chief Art Acevedo will be among those attending the May 30 event.

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