TORRINGTON – Four thousand miles. $4,500. One bicycle. Each is an important factor in Torrington native Reo Radford’s upcoming charitable endeavor spanning multiple states, months and likely several bottles of chain oil.
Radford graduated from Torrington High School in 2015. He is the son of Dale and Donna Radford, and said it was his father who initially encouraged him to participate in the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults’ 4K for Cancer.
“My dad brought up the idea – I think it was last summer,” Radford said. “There are biking teams and running teams, and one of the running teams came through Torrington … and took pictures under the underpass. He talked to them and mentioned it to me. I decided if I’m ever going to do it, I should just do it. This summer might be my best opportunity.”
Beginning June 3 in Baltimore, Md. and finishing in Seattle, Wash. on Aug. 13, Radford will bike with a group of college-aged students for approximately 70 days and 4,000 miles ride to raise money and awareness for the Ulman Cancer Fund.
Groups are broken into teams – Radford estimated his team consists of about 30 people from all over the U.S. – and each individual is required to raise $4,500, some of which will help cover trip costs, but as much as 90 percent goes to young adults battling cancer.
“I’ve received a lot of donations from family, people my parents work with – and that kind of support means a lot,” Radford, who had raised $2,660, or 59 percent of his goal, as of Wednesday. “The support means a lot – not just to me – but to the people who can use that money and deserve to use that money.”
Radford is a junior at the University of Wyoming and currently studying communication and marketing. He’s also on the UW triathlon team.
“I’ve been using practices to be able to train (for my trip),” Radford said. “I’ve also been going to spin classes. It’s just been hard – in this area of the world, the wind is either blowing hard or it’s 20-below … there’s just never been a good time (to train outside). I’ve spent a lot of time on stationary bikes and trainers. I’ve been putting in a fair amount of work.”
Saturday, March 11, Radford will return to his hometown for a pancake supper at Lincoln Gym in Torrington City Hall from 4 to 7 p.m. The event is part of his fundraising effort in preparation for the trip.
“I lived there pretty much my whole life,” Radford said of Torrington. “I’m excited to be able to see the community – that’s been such a big factor in raising me the last 18 or so years – sort of come together again. That’ll be pretty cool.”
While a 4,000-mile bike ride may seem daunting for some, Radford feels ready, even excited, to participate.
“I’m excited to meet other people on my team, and go out and just do it,” he said. “Just the challenge – I find it really interesting and intriguing to go out and help the people who need it most. I just think everybody ought to take a little time out of their lives and give it to something bigger than themselves.”
Visit Radford’s fundraising page at https://ulman.z2systems.com/reo-radford for more information or to donate.