Biking Grads Bring Documentary Crew, Hope to Kids with Cancer
July 27, 2006
"I’m not a professional cyclist, but I’m doing this for these kids. If they can fight cancer, I can bike 5,000 miles to help them find a cure."
The summer after college brings frantic job-searching for most.
But for two recent grads of VanderbiltUniversity, it brings something completely different: “Rally Across America,” a three-month, 5,000-mile charity bicycling tour, with its own tagalong documentary crew. To date the tour has raised more than $70,000 for childhood cancer research.
And at Wednesday, Aug. 2, it will make a stop at Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong.
Austin Bauman, 22, and Tom Reardon, 21, the pedaling pair, plan to talk about their journey, hand out goody bags, and encourage pediatric cancer patients, families and friends while they visit the hospital.
They also plan to refuel on inspiration themselves, as they will have the chance to meet local oncology patients in whose honor they are biking the route’s “Rochester leg.”
Besides all the biking and visits to kids and hospitals, the tour requires flexibility and enthusiasm from Bauman and Reardon, who break up the trip by hosting fund-raisers at local restaurants, meeting new friends who have offered to put them up for a night, and capturing the journey with the help of their documentary crew.
“I’m not a professional cyclist, but I’m doing this for these kids. If they can fight cancer, I can bike 5,000 miles to help them find a cure,” Bauman said. He challenges other cyclists and communities to show their support, too.
The tour, which began June 1 in Atlanta, led north, hugging the Eastern Seaboard all the way to Scarborough, Maine, and then dipped back down, now heading south and west toward its endpoint, Nashville, Tenn. So far, the pair has pedaled through and visited cancer patients in several other cities, including Charleston, Baltimore and Boston.
The three-month challenge, “Rally Across America,” is a grassroots initiative of the Atlanta-based Rally Foundation, a non-profit organization that donates 100 percent of its proceeds to the Children’s Oncology Group.