How did Lucas Hartman spend his last summer vacation? On a lonely stretch of road biking cross country from Savannah, Georgia to Santa Monica, California. But Lucas peddled with a purpose, raising money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and Cancer Research.
“I thought it would be a good idea to fundraise for the LAF because of cycling and also because I had a number of family members and friends that have been affected by cancer,” he said.
Lucas’ journey started two years ago when he first scheduled a coast to coast bike trip and collected thousands in pledges.
“But a few days before I was supposed to leave I had to have an emergency appendectomy,” he said.
Even though his trip was postponed, many of donors still pledged around twenty five thousand dollars.
“Never before had I been exposed to such human kindness and willingness to give,” he said.
“It was amazing the support that he got for that. I’m getting chills just thinking about it,” his mother said.
So the next year, Lucas developed his own fundraising Web site, raised another twenty three thousand — and this time? Made the cross country trek.
“Over the course of six weeks we biked thirty one hundred miles across eight states … the average riding distance each day was eighty five miles,” he said.
He went through the heat of the southwest, biked by the Grand Canyon, through the painted dessert all the way to the California coast.
“I’m amazed that my kid, a young person can do that,” his mother said.
In all, Lucas raised nearly fifty thousand dollars, earning him a trip to ride with comedian Robin Williams and the man himself, Lance Armstrong. It’s pretty incredible stuff for a high school senior.
“I like to do things that are different. I like to think that I’ve made a difference for many people though what I’ve done,” he said.
Lucas plans to attend the University of Pennsylvania in the fall, but he’s still biking locally and raising money for the LAF.