Sunday, June 28, 2009

Story and photos by Bruce Thorson

June 28, 2009, Arapahoe, Neb: Travis Counsell, a student at Elon University, North Carolina, says goodbye to his host Toby tenBensel. Counsell and 28 other riders are part of the 4K for Cancer, which is a non-profit group raising awareness about cancer through this ride across America. Counsell is dedicating his ride to his grandfather, who died in 1997 from cancer. He is also riding for other family members and friends who have been affected by cancer. The team is riding from Baltimore, Maryland to San Francisco. The group spent the night in Arapahoe at their hosts' homes.

Anne Smedinghoff gets in more rest before breakfast and before hitting the road again. Riders had to be at the First United Methodist Church at 5:15 in the morning. They were fed breakfast there.

Shareef Ghanem (right) and Caitlkin Leach give each other a hug as the riders prepare to hit the road. The were to ride about 98 miles and stop for the night in Benkelman. The riders are at the half-way point in their journey to San Francisco.

Before each ride, the team forms a circle. They quietly dedicate the day's ride to someone they know has had cancer. They then get psyched up for the ride by cheering, singing and chanting.

The team is off to Benkelman. This is the third year the ride has been hosted by the First United Methodist Church. The church members feed them dinner and breakfast, and have host families for them to stay with overnight.

Additional photo by Kyle Bruggeman

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