WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. (WECT) – Seven North Carolina Boy Scouts are completing a trip of a lifetime.
The young teens started their journey June 15 with a goal of biking 3,900 miles from Florence, Oregon to Wrightsville Beach to help raise awareness and funds for a teen cancer program.
With their journey coming to a close on Wednesday, proud parent Ted Richardson said he can’t wait to see his 15-year-old son.
“It’s just been impressive to see this group of teenage boys make great use of their summer,” he said. “They are getting a great adventure and seeing America at a pace that you can really appreciate it. But more importantly they are doing it with a mindset towards helping others.”
The trip was inspired after the boys’ fellow classmate, Sophie Steiner, was diagnosed with germ-cell cancer in November 2012 and passed away nine months later at the age of 15.
Before passing away Sophie expressed a strong desire to help other teens who are facing an overwhelming cancer diagnosis with non-clinical needs. Sophie’s wish led to the creation of the Be Loud! Sophie Foundation, which supports teen cancer programs.
Richardson said his son and the other bikers are hoping this trip will raise enough money through the foundation to hire a staff member at UNC Chapel Hill hospital who can cater to the needs of teens with cancer.
“I’m excited to bike across the country because it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to challenge myself in a unique way,” said biker Max Morgan in a recent news release. “I’m also really glad that we will be raising awareness across the country for the Be Loud! Sophie Foundation.”
Richardson said he was nervous about letting his teenage son embark on this two-month journey with a bike as his only way of transportation, but after months of training and the guidance of trip leaders he was able to send his son off with confidence.
While he doesn’t hear from his son everyday Richardson said the one thing they’ve both been impressed with is the amount of generosity the teens have seen as they travel from city to city.
“There have been nice people all along the route that have taken them in and offered them a free meal, offered them a roof over their head, a place to sleep and that’s been heartwarming,” Richardson said.
The teens are on schedule to end their trip this Wednesday with a ceremony and a celebration at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort in Wrightsville Beach.
As the trip began in Oregon, it will close with a synchronized dip of bicycle wheels into the ocean.
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