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Family cycles across country to fight cancer
The family that pedals together, stays together.
Today, the Adelphia family is setting out from Yuma on the last leg of their journey; cycling from Jacksonville, Florida to San Diego, Calif. in support of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Husband and wife Rob and Gail along with their daughter Dakota, 15, and their son Luke, 8, parked their bikes at First Christian Church for the past two nights to take the opportunity to rest up, do some sightseeing around town and gather supplies for the final 200 miles of their trip.
When asked what prompted them to make a trek as a family, Rob said their initial inspiration came from a couple they met during one of their occasional family bike outings near their hometown of Hammond, Indiana, who were traveling across the country on their bicycles for their honeymoon.
“It was just one of those things that we said, ‘Wow, that's kind of neat,' and we just got to talking about it a little more, a little more and we had a period in our life where our work situation allowed and we were able to take the time off,” said Rob.
“My wife and I basically felt like, “Hey, we're not getting any younger, the children aren't getting any younger, and this would be a good time to do something like this, we don't know when the opportunity will present itself again.'”
About a year later, they had sold their family Jeep Wrangler as a way to fund their trip, loaded up a work pickup truck with their bikes and equipment and drove south. After selling the pickup truck in Florida through Craigslist, they set out on their cross-country adventure on their son Luke's eighth birthday, Oct. 11.
Rob said that they decided to pedal through the Southern part of the U.S. because of the warmer weather and noted that so far they have lucked out with the exception of a few rainstorms here and there and a night in New Mexico where they camped in 17-degree weather.
He also explained that because the children are home-schooled, they were able to take the children's schoolwork with them on the road so it wouldn't effect their education.
“Luke rides behind me on the tandem bike, so the whole time he and I are together, we'll be doing things like going through times tables... we have a lot of time on our hands,” said Rob.
The family has been averaging anywhere from 37-62 miles per day, each of them hauling about 50-80 pounds of weight, which on big hills can prove to be quite challenging.
“We're not bicyclists, the most we would do (at home) would be a few miles – it was just something we'd do as a family, like we'd play a game as a family. Doing this, we've actually – somewhere between Louisiana and the middle of Texas – became bicyclists by necessity,” Rob said with a laugh.
In all seriousness though, he shared that they chose to take the challenge in honor of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation as a way to honor several of their family members that have had or who have breast cancer. Ultimately, he said, they're hoping that by raising awareness through their journey, they're hoping to make a difference and raise funds for a cure.
“That way this small little thing we're doing could actually turn into something big and possibly raise more awareness for something that can be prevented,” he said.
While they have not reached their fundraising goal, they're hoping to garner funds during the last portion of their trip.
“I think because of the time of year we chose it's been a difficult thing... the vast majority of our donations have come in a dollar, two dollars, three dollars at a time. From a gas station worker to a Hardee's worker to an Arby's worker... I'm humbled, because they're making minimum wage and they're still feeling strong enough about it to make a donation and we're really appreciative of all the everyday people out there that have been willing to give.”
Visit www.fourtheroad.com to read more about the Adelphia family, about their cross-country travels and to donate to their cause. Rob noted that on their website under the “Our Huge Sponsor Page” tab, people can donate to the Susan G. Komen Foundation to help them reach their goal of $4,000 and to also support the family along in their journey with funds for meals or a place to stay.