Alum Riding for Cancer Cure

Lindsay Wilson, Staff Writer

In a world where most common ailments can be easily solved with prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs, it is difficult to believe that cancer still eludes medical experts. Truly a worldwide epidemic, the disease affects people in every country, killing 7.6 million every year, according to the official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Nearly everyone knows of someone who has been diagnosed with some form of cancer or has been directly affected themselves.

Some of the most saddening, yet heartwarming stories come from witnessing a loved one go through the horrendous process of cancer treatment. Many of those who watch cancer patients struggle through the physical and emotional torment of the disease are inspired to find a cure.

One of La Puma’s veterans, Kelsey Aubrey, was inspired to join the fight against cancer after her cousin fought and beat brain cancer as a child. She decided to apply to “Texas 4000,” an organization dedicated to cancer research, after hearing about it from a couple of her friends during her freshman year at the University of Texas in Austin.

“I learned about the organization and heard how much they loved it, and I realized that they exemplified the type of person what I want to be- someone who fights for that which she believes,” she said.

She hopes that by taking part in fundraising for a cure and spreading awareness about cancer, the horrible disease will eventually be defeated. “I knew that I wanted to help create a world in which no one has to fear losing a sibling or child. I ride for those who can’t in hopes that one day no one will die from cancer,” said Aubrey.

Texas 4000 was founded in 2004 by UT student and cancer survivor Chris Condit. He created the organization in the hope of giving back to the community and spreading awareness about the disease.

Both a student-run organization and registered non-profit, Texas 4000 is a “product” of the University of Texas, according to Aubrey. She believes that it is representative of the great things that happen on campus. “Our school’s motto is ‘What Starts Here Changes The World,’ and Texas 4000 has definitely taught me to believe that,” she said.

Aubrey serves on the Executive Leadership team as the Fundraising and Business Development Chair. She is in charge of managing a committee that deals with team fundraising, media and public relations, grant writing, and event planning.

This June, Aubrey is also taking part of the Texas 4000 ride, a fundraiser dedicated to cancer research.

For the past year, the students involved in Texas 4000 have been planning and fundraising for the ride. Each rider must raise $4,500, or a dollar per mile. Most people take part in a letter writing campaign to friends and family in order to raise the required money. Some of the riders are creative with their fundraising, even panhandling and holding fundraisers in the streets of Austin.

The team of riders has been training since November. Each rider is required to complete 1,500 training miles and pass a 100-mile bike ride in fewer than 10 hours before departing for Alaska.

On June 1, 70 students from the University of Texas in Austin will ride 4,500 miles on a cross-country journey to Anchorage from campus in 70 days, arriving on August 9. Biking an average of 70 miles per day, the team will ride for 7 days and then rest on the 8th for the duration of the trip. They will be staying with host families or at churches at night.  On their off-days, they will visit with the communities through which they pass and give presentations on cancer prevention and Texas 4000 in order to spread cancer awareness.

Aubrey will be riding on the “Rockies” route, which will travel up through Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and then into the Canadian Rockies into Alaska. After reaching Anchorage, she will be flying home. A group of her teammates will be driving back to Austin in vans and trailers, which will take about 6 days.

By undertaking the herculean task, Aubrey desires to spread awareness of cancer. “I hope to inspire my friends, family and community to take control of their health. 95% of all cancers are preventable or highly treatable, it’s just a matter of taking care of ourselves and seeking medical attention earlier rather than later,” she said.

She also wants to encourage those battling cancer and emphasize the determination of the human spirit to find a cure and eliminate the disease. “I also hope to inspire those fighting cancer and show them that nothing is impossible. 2 years ago, I never would have dreamed that I’d be biking to Alaska, but after months of training, I now know that it is possible.” Aubrey hopes to raise $10,000 for cancer research by the end of her ride. She is confident that she will reach her goal, having raised $5,000 already.

As a graduate of Campolindo, Aubrey is giving back not only to her community in Austin, Texas, but also her hometown of Moraga. For students who have a loved one for whom they would like to ride, Aubrey will carry his or her name with her. Those interested may e-mail to Aubrey at [email protected]

Furthermore, donations can be made to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas or to Biomedical Engineering seeds projects on the UT campus, and put on her donation link,

Finally, for those interested in Texas 4000, information can be found at