UT student Ruel Bobet died of stomach cancer before getting the opportunity to ride in the Texas 4000. Now, his teammates ride in his name.
The Texas 4000 embarked Saturday on their 4,700 mile, 70 day trip from Austin to Alaska. As they cycle across the country, 21-year old rider and UT student Ruel Bobet, lost to cancer on Feb. 25, will be on their minds.
In his personal statement, Bobet wrote that he started out at the UT as a vocal performance major, but after his father’s diagnosis of colon and liver cancer he decided to pursue his childhood dream of working in medicine. He was working towards becoming a Physician's Assistant with a background in public health.
Bobet said he joined the Texas 4000 to ride for his father and to increase people’s knowledge of cancer. Bobet said that he was not aware of the affects cancer had on a family and community until his father was diagnosed. On April 26, 2011, Bobet himself was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Bobet’s friends and family, his mother diagnosed with cancer as well, vowed to make the trip in his memory.
"It's a horrible, horrible feeling, like, my stomach just dropped, and it's one of the worst things that you want to hear, especially in an organization where you are working to fight cancer," teammate Taylor Foreman told KVUE news.
Personal statements from Bobet’s teammates on this year’s Texas 4000 rider bio’s website reflect the involvement the group has had in the Bobet family’s cancer battles.
Rider Marcelo Flores wrote in his personal statement that he would be riding for his grandfather after he died from bone cancer. He then wrote:
I'll be taking my brother, Ruel Bobet, with me this summer as well. He's also on our Rockies 2012 team. I ride for your dad, buddy.
Unfortunately, Bobet died before the 2012 ride this June.
Texas 4000 Executive Director Jamille Ruebsahm said it is important to engage UT students in order to help spread the organization’s mission of increasing knowledge of and funds for cancer research.
“We feel it is vital to engage students in the fight against cancer as they are our future, their passion and commitment to fighting this disease empowers and inspires the rest of us to dedicate our energy as well,” Ruebsahm said.