The Texas 4000 is an event that students from the University of Texas at Austin have the opportunity to participate in as well as the chance to raise money for cancer research. Students from the university apply, are interviewed and selected by a committee to ride from Austin, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska during their summer break. The Texas 4000 is dedicated to fighting cancer by sharing hope, knowledge and charity.

Those participating are assigned to one of the three teams, Sierra, Rocky or Ozark. The teams are assembled at the beginning of the year and are given two semesters to appear at and plan a myriad of events as well as gather donations.

Brittany Petty, a Bangs native, was selected for the Ozark team this year. This team will ride through nine states and two Canadian territories over the course of 70 days.

Petty is a sociology/pre-pharmacy major who plans on attending pharmacy school and “hopes one day to be able to discover medicines that will help fight unknown and present diseases.”

Petty is riding in honor of her friend Helena, who she met her freshman year at UT. The two became very close and had planned on living together their sophomore year, but Helena became ill during the summer and was later diagnosed with cancer.

“Despite the fact that Helena has cancer, she continues to stay strong. She is my most recent motivation for the cause,” said Petty, whose father also battled cancer and has been in remission for about six years.

Each rider dedicates their journey in memory of or in support of someone battling or who has battled cancer. It is estimated that this years journey will be dedicated to more than 4,000 people, said www.texas4000.org.

When she had applied in September, Petty didn’t think she had been chosen for the team. One day she received a phone call from a number she didn’t recognize. She was in class, so sent it to voicemail. This would become a trend. The person only called when she was in class and couldn’t answer her phone. One day she talked her boyfriend into calling the number and when he did, they both found out she had made the Ozarks team.

At the beginning of March, Petty blogged “T4K is going lovely as well (as) this semester! I have had a lot of fun and I have actually got to know a few more teammates that I hadn’t ever talked to before (not because I didn’t want to) because I never had time!!”

On March 11, Petty documented via Facebook, “Biked 200 miles in the last three days with my Texas 4000 family!! I feel accomplished! There is no way we’re going to stop fighting cancer from there! To Alaska and beyond!”

Petty’s fund-raising goal before the ride is set at $5000 and currently she is at $2,773.67. To donate to Petty’s ride, visit https://www.kintera.org/faf/donorreg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=1011856&supId=352315519&extSiteType=1.

There are several levels of sponsorship available. A summer sponsor costs $1,000 or more, a month sponsor is $500 or more, a week sponsor is $250 or more and a day sponsor costs $100 or more.

Petty and the rest of the Texas 4000 riders will ride more than twice the length as the Tour De France. Their ride will last for 70 days through rain, sleet, wind, snow, heat and any other weather that may come.Riders will spend an average of three days in temperatures above 115 degrees and two nights in temperatures below freezing. They will pedal at elevations ranging from 500 feet to 14,000 feet.

Along the route, riders will meet thousands of people battling cancer or survivors of cancer.

To follow Petty’s journey, visit www.texas4000.org/user/profile/10518.