An infinite desire to help
Promise - Spring 2012
Cyclist pedals cancer awareness
By Victor Scott
Barely able to walk and 700 miles from home, Sam Davenport was forced to accept defeat. But the severe pain from riding his bicycle thousands of miles and pushing his body beyond its physical limits didn’t end his personal quest to fight cancer.
Davenport’s inaugural 4,300-mile bicycle ride last spring throughout the eastern United States was a means to promote his nonprofit organization, Infinity and Beyond. It may have ended a few hundred miles short, but it fully met his goals to raise money for cancer research at MD Anderson.
In May 2010, Davenport was completing a degree in marine biology at Texas A&M University in Galveston. His dad, a nonsmoker, was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer. After graduation, Davenport decided to put his career on hold and establish Infinity and Beyond to fund cancer research and help cancer patients with expenses not covered by medical insurance.
“I wanted to do something to give back and fight it based on what I could do,” says Davenport. “I scuba dive, I sail, I surf. I love the outdoors. This was something to share my love of adventure and to help people.”
The long journey begins
Last May, he said goodbye to his family in his hometown of Argyle, Texas, near Dallas, and cycled north.
Over the next four months, Davenport made stops in Chicago, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh before arriving in New York. Then he headed down the East Coast to Washington, D.C., to Virginia Beach, Va., through the Outer Banks of North Carolina and on to Atlanta. He was 90 miles east of Memphis, in Corinth, Miss., when he ended his journey, forced to stop riding due to painful injuries to his Achilles tendons.
Though Davenport didn’t finish in Galveston as he’d planned, he’s proud of the awareness he generated along the way, plus more than $27,000 through 5K fun runs, an outdoor concert, a golf tournament and other activities. Davenport donated funds to 11 cancer patients he met during his ride and delivered a $5,000 check to MD Anderson in October.
“I want to inspire people to act,” says Davenport. “Hopefully, everybody doing a little can add up to something big.”
Davenport’s dad, Jim, is pleased that his son is dedicated to raising funds and awareness to help cancer patients and their families.
“I did my research and decided to come to MD Anderson,” he says. “It’s a place of hope.”