As reported by the New Haven Register, June 19, 2006.

College Buddies Will Bike Across Country for a Good Cause

By Pamela McLoughlin

MILFORD — Jeremiah Tracy’s idea to bicycle across the country with a friend to raise $50,000 for cancer research in the name of his late mother originated with a more humble and whimsical idea.

Tracy, 25, a first-year medical student at the University of Connecticut, and his medical school buddy, Ben Ristau, 24, were chatting in December about what to do this summer, because next year there’s no summer break from school. Ristau, who also had become a gym/workout buddy with Tracy, said, "Hey. why don’t we ride our bikes across the country?"

Tracy, kind of off-the-cuff, told Ristau it was the best offer he had had yet.

Soon, it got serious.

"We couldn’t justify spending a whole summer doing this if it didn’t mean anything," Tracy said.

The men, who both now live in the Hartford area to be near school, decided almost at once that if they were going to do something so ambitious, they should find a cause to champion and hopefully, inspire others. A few connections later through Tracy’s dad, Gerry Tracy of Guilford, the men paired up with Lea’s Foundation for Leukemia Research, formed in 1998 to honor the memory of Lea Michele Economos, who died of the disease at age 28.

With Lea’s Foundation behind them, the adventuresome trek became known as The Coast to Coast for a Cure trans-America bike ride, and the fund-raising goal became $50,000. The ride is being dedicated to Jeremiah Tracy’s late mom, Elizabeth Herman Tracy, who died of leukemia when he was 18.

The Tracys lived in Milford for many years, and Elizabeth Tracy taught school there for 12 years, ending her career at Meadowside Elementary School.

Elizabeth Tracy was an adventurer herself, once hitchhiking around the country in the 1970s when it was considered a cool thing to do.

"She’d love this," Jeremiah Tracy said, referring to his late mom. "She’d appreciate the audacity that we’re going to go across the country and we’re going to raise $50,000."

Tracy and Ristau will officially end their ride in Milford, dipping their wheels into the water of Long Island Sound near the home where Elizabeth Herman Tracy grew up and her parents, Dick and Ruth Herman, live. Then they’ll be the guests of honor at a gathering at the club Daniel Street.

They will fly to California and leave from San Francisco June 28, cycling about 80 miles or six hours per day. Along the way they’ll camp out, stay in some homes and catch a hotel room about once a week to shower. They’ll be riding Cannondale T-800 bicycles.

They each exercise a lot, but their workouts with each other are limited because school is so demanding. Each weekend, they try to get together for a long ride of 50-60 miles.

They’ll face some tough vertical turf early in the trip when on day four they hit the Sierra Nevadas.

But with youth and fitness on their side, and only about $6,000 raised so far, Tracy said he’s "more worried about the fund raising" than any potential dangers.

Ristau, who describes himself as a "mind over matter kind of guy," said he thinks the trip will be fun and a "wonderful experience."

The men hope the coast-to-coast fundraising ride will become a tradition for first year UConn medical students.

Gerry Tracy described Jeremiah Tracy as a hiker, marathon runner, mountain climber and general fitness buff who loves a challenge. Gerry Tracy, who did some work for Lea’s Foundation after his wife’s death, said he’s pleased that his son and Ristau decided to raise money for the cancer cause.

Gerry Tracy said he’ll meet them half way through the trip and take them to a nice hotel for the night and treat them to a steak dinner.

Referring to how his late wife would view the trip, Gerry Tracy said, "This is so up her alley in terms of physical challenges." He said she once decided she was going to challenge herself to swim in Long Island Sound every month of the year and did — even though her dips in December, January and February were quick.

The foundation’s goal is to find a cure for leukemia and its related diseases, lymphoma and myeloma.

For more information, call Lea’s Foundation at 860-727-8998.