By: Cierra Putman
MIDLAND - Sunday's Permian Basin Bicycle Association's Livestrong Bike Ride is a ride for two causes.
"All the proceeds will go 50/50 between Livestrong and Allen," Mark Hardwick said.
After riding buddy Allen Jansa was diagnosed with cancer, Hardwick put together Midland's first ever Livestrong Bike Ride.
"Allen's leaving (Monday) to go to MD Anderson to start his treatment for cancer and you know the moral support and knowing that we're going to help him has got to help in that process," Hardwick said.
"I wasn't surprised but I was very shocked," Jansa said. "I was so grateful. I spent a weekend in Houston and when I got back they had started planning this before I got back."
Support from the Permian Basin Bikers Association, coupled with donations from the community and free catering, helped kick-off the event.
"Sometimes national organizations just loose touch," Nicole Davenport with Cowgirl Caterin, said. "You recognize the color or the symbol, but you don't really relate to it personally. Now, we get to used the colors and the wrist bands and relate it to a guy that it really matters here locally. You never know when it's going to be your last ride so we want to make it the best last ride, if it is his last ride."
Chemotherapy and surgery are just on the horizon, so Jansa knows he has a tough road ahead of him, but he thinks this ride will help him complete the journey.
"It helps financially but it helps much more in the support," he said.
Even while battling cancer, he plans to keep peddling forward.
"Kat, my girlfriend, is going with me and we're going to bring our bikes," Jansa said. "If I feel up to it, we're going to cycle there also. She supports me and helps me out and keeps me moving on my bad days."
Hardwick says the bicycle association will keep riding for Jansa and others touched by cancer.
"Hopefully we won't need one next year and we'll find a cure to cancer," he said. "But as long as one person is afflicted by cancer, we'll have one."
At the end of the day, organizers think they raised about $5,000.
Even though the ride is over, they're still excepting donations for Livestrong and Jansa.