Cyclists cross country to cure cancer

The blue jerseys popped in the June morning sunlight.

Thirty men and women, between the ages of 18 and 25, wearing 4K Team Portland livery, bicycled through London and Madison County Thursday from Columbus on their way to Dayton.

The 80-mile ride is the latest segment of a ride which began May 31 in Baltimore and will conclude Aug. 8 in Portland, Ore.

The riders hail from all across the U.S. They applied to be a part of the team and once accepted, had to raise a minimum of $4,500 for research in the fight against cancer in young adults. To qualify for the team, each member had to have a family member or close friend, who was a victim of the disease.

Each participant had his/her own website at which supporters may donate. Team riders, along with five other cross-country teams, have exceeded their funding goal and banked more than $1 million, according to Matthew Smith, of West Lafayette, Ind. Donations continue to come in.

“We’re still getting checks,” said Emma Rothermel, of Harrisburg, Pa.

Smith said in addition to their generous donors, along the way local passersby have gifted them with food.

They bunk in churches, community centers, any place which will allow them to unroll their mats and sleeping bags for a well-deserved rest.

On Friday, they tackle a century leg (100 miles) from Dayton to Greensburg, Ind.

Dean Shipley can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, on Facebook at Dean Shipley or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.