Calling the trip Lucky 13- after 2013- the group cycled across the U.S. Led by Brian Burnham, an assistant scout master with Troop 845, and Aidan Kelly, a previous participant and UNC student, the cyclists left Havre de Grace, MD, on June 10, and arrived in Astoria, Oregon, 3,700 miles later, on August 15.
Many of the riders are members of Boy Scout Troop 845 and are students at Carrboro, Chapel Hill or East Chapel Hill High Schools. Three are students at UNC and NCSU.
Their trip is the longest ever undertaken by a scout troop. Along the way, fellow scouts, families, and strangers fed and housed them and cheered them on their journey.
“There isn’t a rider on the Lucky 13 crew who hasn’t had a family member or friend fight a battle with cancer, “ says Brian Burnham. “It hits home and the guys know it.”
Their fundraising goal, $30,000, was their most ambitious, and when they crossed into Wyoming, they learned that they had already reached their goal. By the end of the trip, they had raised close to $35,000. UNC Lineberger will use the funds in support of cancer research and will send two pediatric cancer patients to Victory Junction in Randleman, N.C., a camp for pediatric patients facing challenging illnesses.
Janet Walters, mother of Paris Buedel, 15, and the youngest Lucky 13 rider, says, “Sending a child off on a ride across the country was a leap of faith. I knew it would be the experience of a lifetime for my son and I clung to that — that’s what got me through when worrying started to get the best of me.
“At times I thought about what the parents of cancer patients go through, and that helped put my worrying in perspective,” she said.
To read more about their trip: www.lucky13biketrip.com.