The American Cancer Society (ACS) of Iowa is gearing up for this year’s RAGBRAI. The week-long bike ride across the state is sure to put the spotlight on cancer research with the promised participation of Lance Armstrong.
The bicycling legend rode for one day on last year’s RAGBRAI, and quickly promised to ride the entire route in 2007. "I can’t tell you how much fun we had last year…the crowds that turned out in Newton were mind boggling," Armstrong said in a video statement earlier this year on his website.
Gretchen Tegeler, ACS of Iowa Vice President, says Armstrong’s presence will help her organization spread the word about the importance of funding cancer research. "We are certainly expecting heightened interest," Tegeler says, "I think people will be more interested in learning about the different ways they can get involved."
Armstrong is a cancer survivor and has raised millions of dollars for research through his foundation. In a video message, posted earlier this year at www.livestrong.org, Armstrong said RAGBRAI is a great vehicle for his foundation – allowing him to ride a bike and spread his message across Iowa.
He calls it "a dream come true" to talk about cancer to both Iowans and the many presidential candidates and politicians at RAGBRAI events. Tegeler says the ACS of Iowa will have a specially equipped van in all the cities hosting overnight stops.
"People can stop by and share their story and talk about why they care about fighting cancer," and Tegeler says those stories will be sent, along with a picture of the individual, to members of congress. RAGBRAI is scheduled for July 22-28, starting in Rock Rapids and ending in Bellevue. The overnight stops are planned in Spencer, Humboldt, Hampton, Cedar Falls, Independence, and Dyersville.