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Health Center Today, July 21, 2011

Coast to Coast for a Cure Cyclists More Than Halfway Home

By Chris DeFrancesco

Photo of James Alex and Tom Williams

James Alex (front) and Tom Williams peer through the fog on the Golden Gate Bridge. The Coast to Coast for a Cure cross-country ride traditionally starts in San Francisco. (Click on images for larger views.)

Photos courtesy of the Coast to Coast
for a Cure 2011 Blog

Three medical students who are spending the summer cycling across the country to raise money for leukemia research have made it to the Central time zone.

Rising first years James Alex, Greg Hebert and Tom Williams are pedaling their way through the Midwest, more than halfway through the 4,000-mile Coast to Coast for a Cure ride to benefit Lea’s Foundation for Leukemia Research.

When they get a chance along the way, they’re posting updates on a blog of their journey, which also includes a GPS tracking of their progress. They started in San Francisco June 19 and expect to be back in Connecticut by mid-August.

During a chance meeting at a stop on the old Oregon Trail in Scottsbluff, Neb., a writer for the local paper took an interest in the riders. The story ran the next day.

This is the sixth Coast to Coast for a Cure. Each year a new group of first-year medical students has made up the cycling team.

The Hartford nonprofit Lea’s Foundation is a philanthropic partner of the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, where the Lea’s Foundation Center for Hematologic Disorders was dedicated in 2007.

Follow the riders on their blog at To make a pledge to support Coast to Coast for a cure, go to

Photo of Greg Hebert, James Alex and Tom Williams

From left: Greg Hebert, James Alex and Tom Williams can see snow in June from the peak of Donner Pass in Nevada County, California.

Photo of the Coast to Coast riders

The Coast to Coast riders take in the view of Lake Tahoe from King’s Beach.

Photo of Greg Hebert

Greg Hebert tries to reach 8,000 feet above sea level in Yellowstone National Park.

Photo of Larry and the Coast to Coast riders

“Larry” (second from left), owner of RideOut Technologies in Marsing, Idaho, befriended the riders. He rode his motorcycle more than 350 miles to meet them in Jackson, Wyoming, to deliver a replacement bicycle seat.