By Karlton Tate
The Be Loud! Sophie Foundation was established by the family of Sophie Steiner, a student at East who was diagnosed with germ-cell cancer in 2012. Sophie recognized the lack of support tailored for adolescents and young adults with cancer receiving treatment in the UNC hospital system, and wanted to make a difference. The foundation was created to assist adolescents and young adults with their cancer treatment in UNC hospitals through the appropriation of personalized and age-appropriate resources to help them maintain their identities and keep in touch with friends. The foundation also provides for complementary support medicine such as yoga, massages, and acupuncture. The foundation has formed a club at East and sponsored a number of fundraising activities including benefit concerts at the Cat’s Cradle and annual participation in the Color the Hill 4K Fun Run.
This summer, seven Boy Scouts from Troop 845 supported the Be Loud! Sophie Foundation by biking over 4,000 miles from Florence, OR to Wrightsville, NC to raise awareness for the organization. The seven Scouts in the Bike Loud! gang commenced their trip on June 15 when they flew to Oregon with all of their gear and dipped their wheels in the Pacific Ocean to begin their 66 day journey.
Alex Broz, Will Owen, Sam Billings, David Margolies, Andrew de Figueiredo, Max Morgan, and Brian Richardson, all juniors at East except for Richardson, completed the journey alongside six Scout leaders, Dean Broz, Ed Billings, Karl Murphy, David Hardy, Steve Rothwell, and John de Figueiredo. Two leaders accompanied the Scouts at a time, providing valuable guardianship and a responsible voice for the troop.
This is not the first time Carrboro’s Troop 845 has biked across the country. This time, however, the Scouts shattered nearly every previous record within the troop and managed to achieve the national record for the longest continuous bike trip completed by a group of Boy Scouts.
“I felt it was a very important cause, and it’s always the goal of the next generation of scouts to complete the trip. It’s tradition,” said Margolies. “The trip has given me an appreciation for America and the kindness of the American people.”
Indeed, the kindness and generosity of people, municipalities and organizations that the troop encountered along the way made the trip possible. The Scouts camped in church basements, public parks, and even people’s homes on occasion.
The trek did not come without a set of trials and tribulations. Margolies remembers being woken up one morning at 3 a.m. in a park by the industrial sprinkler system, which soaked all of the Scouts’ gear as they scurried to safety. He also remembers the dreadful rolling hills that comprise the Ozarks of Missouri.
“One day we climbed a total of 7,000 feet to complete one of the most difficult sections of the trip,” Margolies said.
When asked how people reacted when they first learned about the troop’s 4,023 mile trip, Margolies said “Many people didn’t believe us until we explained the Be Loud! foundation to them.”
In fact, it would have been easy to doubt the Scouts’ sanity if encountered on the road, which must only stand to testify to the incredible nature of their continental journey for such a noble cause.
Photo Courtesy of Bike Loud Facebook Page