There are approximately 3,500 miles between Portland, Oregon and Portland, Maine. Can you imagine traveling this distance by bike? That’s exactly what three men from Mount Olive are doing to raise money for pancreatic cancer research.
On June 19, Josh Johannessen, 26, will leave from the Cape Meares Lighthouse alongside Scott Phillips, 27, and Jose Ignacio Alfaro, 26. Though all three went to the same high school, it wasn’t until Johannessen made a Facebook post about the trip that the young men connected.
The theme for this year’s trek is called “Anyone Can Be A Superhero.” It’s an appropriate title, considering that Johannessen and his friends will dress as superheroes and perform acts of kindness along the way. If someone is out doing yard work or carrying in groceries, they may get a helping hand from Captain America and his fellow superheroes.
Traveling Cross Country to Support Cancer Research
Inspiration for the trip comes from last year’s success. Johannessen rode his bike from New Jersey to California, and then up the west coast to Seattle, to raise money for his friend Robin who had breast cancer. He raised over $20,000 during “Ride For Robin.” Johannessen admits that while some parts of the trip were difficult – 110 degree treks through the desert – it was the most amazing experience of his life.
This year, Anyone Can Be A Superhero will take Johannessen and his friends from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine. The trip is expected to last 5 to 6 weeks, from mid-June to the end of July. The trio is packing a U-Haul with their gear and driving out to Oregon. They will then ride their bikes all the way back with no vehicles following. This will be a fully self-supported adventure, with all gear packed on the bikes.
Spreading the Word Through Social Media
To bring attention to the cause, Johannessen has used Facebook and Instagram. Through social media, he’s gained two friends to share the adventure with, as well as coverage from newspapers and local businesses.
Phillips designed a website, https://www.bikingportlandtoportland.com, where wristbands and shirts are being sold to raise money for pancreatic cancer. People can also sponsor miles of the trip to offset some of the costs or make a donation. So far, Facebook has attracted the most attention for the cause. With so many people using the site at all times of the day, the posts have a greater chance of being seen.
Anyone Can Be A Superhero may have the goal of raising money for pancreatic cancer, but Johannessen wants people to know that the campaign has a deeper meaning. Even the smallest acts of kindness can make a profound difference in our lives. Johannessen says, “If everyone did at least one good thing a day for another person, this world would be a much better place to live.” We would have to agree.
To learn more about the trip or to donate, visit www.bikingportlandtoportland.com. You can also follow the group’s progress on Facebook at Biking Portland to Portland and Instagram at @Portland_to_Portland and Twitter at @port_2_portland.