News Release

August 13, 2014

Contact: Chris DeFrancesco, 860-679-3914

UConn Med Students Fight Leukemia by Bicycling Cross-country

2014 Coast to Coast for a Cure Raises $30,000 for Lea’s Foundation for Leukemia Research

FARMINGTON, CONN. – After nearly eight weeks and 4,000 miles of cross-country bicycling to raise money for leukemia research, UConn medical students Jonathan Kobles and Greg Kirby are back in Connecticut.

They are the ninth group of students to complete the Coast to Coast for a Cure bike tour to benefit the Hartford nonprofit Lea’s Foundation for Leukemia Research, a philanthropic partner of UConn Health’s Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center. The ride is an annual UConn School of Medicine tradition going back to 2006.

“It’s finally just starting to hit, how many miles we actually put in. But we can feel it,” Kobles said moments after arriving to a group of cheering family, friends and faculty on the UConn Health campus Monday evening (Aug. 11). “You think of your destination, you think of why you’re doing it, you think of just how much longer you push through it until you can finally reach comfort, and how rewarding it will feel when you finally are able to do that much.”

The trip started in San Francisco June 18. The path home included redwood forests of California, Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Along the way the riders posted updates and photos on their blog:

“I think this is an absolutely fantastic experience,” Kirby said. “We accomplished something great but also learned more about ourselves this summer, and I really hope it’s something that continues on with future UConn medical and dental students and Lea’s Foundation.”

Coast to Coast for a Cure officially ends Saturday, Aug. 23, when the riders will bike a final 40 miles from UConn Health to Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison to dunk their tires in the Atlantic Ocean. Anyone who wishes to join them for the final leg of the trip is welcome to join them. A celebration at nearby Malone’s restaurant will follow.
The estimated fundraising tally for this year’s ride so far is $30,000. Those interested in adding to that are encouraged to find the “Coast to Coast” box at and click “Donate.”

Kobles is from Farmington and graduated from UConn with a degree in molecular biology. Kirby is from Madison, a graduate of Daniel Hand High School and Boston College, where he majored in chemistry and minored in mathematics.

High-resolution photo:
Caption: Jonathan Kobles (left) and Greg Kirby celebrate their return from their cross-country bicycle tour to raise money for Lea’s Foundation for Leukemia Research.

High-resolution photo:
Caption: Greg Kirby (left) and Jonathan Kobles are second-year students at the UConn School of Medicine who helped raise $30,000 for leukemia research this summer.

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