This week, Ironwoman BethAnn Telford of TeamBT and endurance cyclist Maria Parker of 3000MilesToACure will cross the North Rim of the Grand Canyon together with a shared mission: to beat brain cancer. In one grueling day, they will race Rim-to-Rim: from the North Rim down to the canyon floor, across the canyon, then up to the South Rim over 21.1 miles with more than 10,000 feet of elevation change.
Telford is an Ironman World Champion triathlete, a serial marathoner and a 10-year brain cancer survivor who has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for research and development of cures for the disease. As Telford wrote recently in her blog, the Rim-to-Rim journey is “a powerful metaphor for the race to end brain cancer. The canyon represents the valley of death of underfunded research.” Her Rim partner Parker is an accomplished ultra-marathon cyclist and was the winner of the 2013 Ride Across America, dedicating her victory in honor of her sister’s battle with brain cancer. She and her family founded 3000 Miles to a Cure—a charity dedicated to raising $1 million for brain cancer research.
Part of their journey includes the filming of “Crossing the Canyon”—a short documentary film about their passage and the organization. The film will extend their impact beyond the walls of the canyon, inspiring and giving hope to those battling brain cancer.
Proceeds raised from their journey will benefit Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2), a Case Foundation grantee and nonprofit organization that drives cutting-edge research and treatments for brain tumors. ABC2 was co-founded by Jean and Steve Case, and Stacey Case after Steve Case’s brother (and Stacey Case’s husband), Dan Case, succumbed to the disease after a fight with brain cancer.
Since its inception, ABC2 has awarded more than $20 million in brain tumor research funding to highly qualified investigators and physician-scientists from more than 40 research institutions. Brain cancer is the leading cause of tumor cancer deaths among children and young adults. There are more than 600,000 people in the U.S. today with a brain tumor diagnosis, and another 66,000 new diagnoses are expected this year. It is a uniquely challenging disease that is in need of strategic, focused research funding.
Together, Telford and Parker will cross the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, into the valley, and climb the other side as they bridge effective treatments for brain cancer. These two fearless agents of change are women whose impact will extend beyond the walls of the canyon, inspiring and giving hope to those battling brain cancer. Good luck to them both! Follow their journey on Twitter at #CrossingtheCanyon.