About Lea's Foundation

In 1998, Lea Michele Economos, a young woman who died of leukemia at the age of 28, made a dying wish to her parents that others would not face the hardships she encountered by finding a cure for this disease. Her family started this charity to carry on that wish. Today, Lea’s Foundation takes an active role in finding a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and myeloma and to better the lives of people living with these diseases. At the UCONN Health Center, the Lea’s Foundation Center for Hematologic Disorders sponsors research in this field. A new program covers the cost of bone-marrow testing to help recruit life-saving transplants for patients. Also, annual scholarships are given to children with leukemia who are planning to attend nursery school. For more information on other projects carried out by Lea’s Foundation, please visit their website at www.LeasFoundation.org.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Day 44 - Normal, IL to Danville, IL (93 miles)

After our late arrival last night, we agreed that we should get a bit of a later start today, especially since we "only" had to bike 94 miles.  As a departure from our normal routine for biking 30-40 miles before breakfast, we decided to get our second consecutive meal at the Denny's across the street.  Filled with our Grand Slams, we headed off to take the Constitution Trail, which was another rail-to-trail bike path that would lead us through the heart of Bloomington and spit us out south of the city on Highway 150 heading towards Champaign.  The path was beautifully shaded and being used by many other people.

Today's ride through the corn was a bit less enjoyable than yesterday's.  The road was flatter and the miles seemed to drag on, so the appeal of Illinois was slipping.  As we biked we found ways to distract ourselves and soon we noticed that there were dark clouds forming on three sides of us.  During a quick road-side break, I checked my phone and saw on the radar that there were scattered thunderstorms throughout Illinois and that Bloomington (where we had come from) and Champaign (where we were headed) were both getting hit with very strong storms.  Luckily, for the time being, we were in the clear so we continued on our trek.

Eventually we reached Mahomet where we decided to grab lunch at Subway.  Eating our subs, Jonathan noticed a weather advisory had been issued around noon.  The advisory stated that over Urbana (right next to Champaign), a funnel cloud had been spotted by a trained observer, and that there was a continued risk of funnel cloud formation until 4pm CDT.  With storms closing in on Mahomet, we saw a window of opportunity to get the next 12 miles to Champaign safely.  We biked quickly and only got rained on for a couple minutes right before we reached Champaign city limits.  As we rode through the city we saw and heard an impressive display of thunder/lightning off to the north.  We turned onto University Avenue and headed towards the University of Illinois and were greeted with beautiful houses and lawns right inside the city.  We reached the bicycle shop we were headed for and ducked inside.  After browsing, and some light bike maintenance, we saw that the funnel cloud advisory was expiring and the radar was clearing up.  We decided to ignore our contingency plan of staying in Champaign overnight, and instead, head the extra 38 miles to a motel in Danville, IL (on the Indiana border).

As we rode on, we required a few gas station rest stops as our bodies were still tired from yesterday's very long ride.  As sunset approached, the clouds began to clear and the sun was actually visible for the first time since mid-afternoon.  Looks like our radar reading abilities were spot on.  Around 8pm we finally reached Danville and after being disappointed by their many fast-food options, decided to try our luck at the local chinese buffet.  The restaurant staff was the nicest I had ever seen at a chinese buffet, and they even offered to make us any dishes that were empty at the buffet.  Very stuffed, and loaded with a very noticeable amount of sodium we headed off to pick up supplies for the morning and get to our motel.  The Friday night scene in downtown Danville was interesting.  I was very glad that the motel we booked was about 5 miles from the city center; with each passing mile we felt more and more comfortable.  We arrived at our motel, but before we could get to shower/sleep, we had to lug our bikes and gear up a flight of stairs to our room.

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