A cross-country bicycle tour to raise money for leukemia research that turned into an annual tradition for rising second-year students at the UConn School of Medicine is now in its 10th year.
Coast to Coast for a Cure started in 2006 with a summer dream to ride across the country and grew into a heartwarming dedication to help a cause. Then-first-year medical students Jeremiah Tracy and Benjamin Ristau teamed up with the Hartford nonprofit Lea’s Foundation for Leukemia Research. Their journey aimed to raise $50,000 for leukemia and lymphoma research in honor of Tracy’s mother, Elizabeth Herman Tracy, who was diagnosed with chronic lymphomacytic leukemia and later passed away from secondary illnesses caused by the treatments. Throughout the years, Coast to Coast for a Cure has raised more than $250,000.
This year, six UConn medical students are riding nearly 3,800 miles, starting in Seattle June 9 and ending on the shores of Connecticut, helping to raise another $50,000 as well as awareness.
Throughout the trip, the riders will post updates and photos on their blog, coast2coastforacure.wordpress.com.
Proceeds from the 10th annual Coast to Coast for a Cure will aid patients and their families as well as help support clinical trials for leukemia patients. Those wishing to make a pledge can do so at leasfoundation.org,
Lea’s Foundation for Leukemia Research was formed in 1998 to honor the memory of Lea Michele Economos, who lost her battle with leukemia at age 28 after an unsuccessful bone marrow transplant. Since the inception of Lea’s Foundation, millions of dollars have been raised to help others celebrate life and to raise money for those suffering from leukemia and other blood‐related disorders. Additionally, the Foundation seeks to increase public awareness of these cancers and to provide patients and their families with limited direct financial assistance.
In 2007, the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at UConn Health dedicated the Lea’s Foundation Center for Hematologic Disorders, made possible by a $1.25 million pledge from Lea’s Foundation.
Jaime Trajcevski contributed to this story.