A team of University of Texas at Austin students participated in the 10th annual Texas 4000 which included a bike ride from Austin, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska covering more than 4,500 miles.
During the 70-day journey Bucky Ribbeck and other Texas students travelled through Oakhurst and North Fork. The group stopped to ask for donations at Crab Cakes Restaurant. During what Ribbeck calls "a crazy ride for the fight against cancer" the group was introduced to restaurant owner Roman Zabicki where they were told the story of Danny Zabicki's battle with cancer.
Upon their visit, Zabicki, a proud supporter of the fight against cancer, was drawn to the cause and generously donated food while the group was in Oakhurst, including breakfast, lunch and dinner.
"We felt like kings and queens with bellies full all the time," Ribbeck said.
The ride concluded on Aug. 9 in Anchorage.
"Our journey as a team ended with the ride, but I put forth the challenge to the rest of the riders to never stop fighting," Ribbeck said.
The team was given commemorative wristbands that were made in honor of Danny, who passed away in 2008 after a bout with a rare cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma.
As part of an annual tradition for the Texas 4000 riders, one of Danny's wristbands was put into a box (with photo) and left at the Alaskan border as commemoration to Danny's.
"The day I came in and heard about Danny is one of the defining moments of my summer it was a true reminder of why I was there and what we were doing," Ribbeck said.
"I think these are worthy events that people should continue to support," Zabicki said. "I know there are many people with legitimate causes and every little bit counts," Zabicki said.
Besides the food donation and wristbands the Zabicki's hosted the DannyPalooza in the years following their sons passing and the money raised went to the Danny Zabicki Memorial Scholarship fund for graduating seniors and now goes to Mountain Area families needing assistance due to their child's illness or accident.
For more information on the Texas 4000 ride go to: texas4000.org.