Seventy days. Four thousand miles. Texas to Alaska. My name is Noa Farou, I am a senior at the University of Texas at Austin, and next summer I will be embarking on the longest annual charity bike ride in the world to help fight cancer.
Texas4000 for Cancer
Texas4000 is a UT leadership program and 4000+ mile bike ride from Austin to Anchorage for which a small team of UT students train 18 months, raise $4,500 dollars, ride 2,000 training miles, and volunteer over 50 hours in the community to train for. Every aspect is student planned and executed from fundraising to each stop along the three routes: Sierra, Rockies, and Ozarks. During our travels we rely on the generosity of host homes, churches, and schools for shelter as well as camp when necessary. Riders also are responsible for driving the “SAG” support vehicle, creating rest stops, and securing food donations. After sharing life-saving cancer prevention information and messages of hope for those cancer has affected to communities we pass through, the three routes converge in Canada and ride the last days together into Anchorage.
A Little About Me
I am a senior Neuroscience major/English minor pre-medical student at UT Austin. I am a cellist of 11 years, Delta Gamma, cycling instructor, and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). My passion for biking was inspired by my father, an accomplished engineer and frequent Marathoner, Iron Man participant, and cyclist. As I grew up, he motivated and trained me for running and biking races and a variety of competitive sports. My parents are my biggest fans, supporting all my academic, musical, and athletic endeavors.
Why I Ride
My mother experienced her father, Carl, battle lung, skin, and bladder cancer for years, and undergo several major surgeries. In his final days he had very little quality of life—breathing through a stoma and still wanting another cigarette.
Cancer is more than a biological phenomenon; it affects every layer of our existence, including our spirit. I see this 70-day excursion as an opportunity to pay tribute to my grandfather’s life, comfort my mother who suffered deep loss and promote the importance of cancer preventative lifestyle choices. Despite cancer’s prevalence, “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).”
I was called to apply to this program to ride in honor of my grandfather, Carl, and my great-aunt, Brigitte. Brigitte was a force of nature. She loved travel, adventure, and her relentlessly cheerful attitude was contagious. Brigitte bravely fought leukemia for many years and passed last February. I ride also for the several other cancer victims and survivors in my family, both in America and the Middle East.
The Power To Act
Since applying, God has only continued to reveal more reasons to ride, one of the most prominent being a six-grader–Aly. I volunteer with the Dell’s Children Survivor Challenge, a semester-long 5K-training program for pediatric cancer and blood disorder patients and families. Through the program I became Aly’s running buddy. Aly is three years in remission from cancer, has a zest for musical theatre, and has more self-confidence and cognizance than most adults I know. As I fundraise thousands to for cancer research, every dollar now reminds me of Aly and the innovative medical research and treatments that save bright kids like her.
Though this 18-month program is difficult in many aspects, I maintain motivation through God’s reminder to “not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act (Proverbs 3:27),” and ride in honor of those who can’t.
Our loved ones don’t get to choose to stop fighting cancer, so I won’t stop fighting for them.
A Lifetime Of Preparation
I have spent years in YoungLife ministries getting to walk beside hundreds of kids as they are introduced or reminded of Christ and His love for them. Christ utilized me as a tool of encouragement for campers to achieve physical goals by serving as a Bikes Wrangler, leading campers on mountain bike rides.
I also served as the EMT at a camp that hosted YoungLives, YoungLife’s ministry for teen mothers and their babies. Many faced socioeconomic strain, immigration issues, or minimal access to healthcare. It was a privilege to provide medical and spiritual counsel for hundreds of strong, beautiful young women and their babies, being reminded of “not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others (Philippians 2:4).”
Ministry work has expanded my capacity to care for others beyond what I believed I was capable of. I look forward to allowing Christ to use me as a light to “shine before others (Matthew 5:16)” from Texas to Alaska. It only takes a spark of hope to set spirits ablaze. In 1 Peter 4:10, we are told “just as each one has a received a gift, use it to serve one another.”
As I am training and fundraising for this 70-day excursion (“reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward to goal for