Father and son cross country by bike in cancer-fighting rite of passage

January 17, 2012 | by City of Hope Staff

Ryan Hornstra and his father, Rick, crossed the country by bicycle — covering 3,000 miles in six and a half weeks — to raise awareness of cancer and raise funds for research at City of Hope.

Photo of Ryan Hornstra, left, and his father Rick Photo of Ryan Hornstra, left, and his father Rick

Ryan Hornstra began planning the ride two years ago as a sophomore in high school in Manhattan Beach, Calif. He looked forward to having an adventure the summer after graduating.  Inspired by his cousin, Brandon Bullough, who successfully battled testicular cancer at City of Hope, he and his dad called their trip Pedal 4 Hope.

“When we visited Brandon in the hospital, all the nurses and doctors were really nice and helped us understand his situation. We saw City of Hope as more of a family than just a place you go to get treated,” he says.

They started at the Pacific Ocean and wheeled up to 100 miles a day in scorching heat in the Southwest and South, finally ending at the Atlantic Ocean in Cocoa Beach, Fla., in August 2011. The pair documented their journey filled with colorful characters and near-harrowing experiences on their website. By the time they’d returned, they had garnered more than $11,000 in donations for City of Hope. The South Bay newspaper Daily Breeze chronicled their trip in an article, as well.

“It changed my life,” says Hornstra, now a freshman at Washington State University looking forward to entering the school’s athletic training program. “I’m more confident in myself and the things I can do. It was the experience of a lifetime.”

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Learn more about the testicular cancer program at City of Hope.

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