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Bicyclists raising funds for cancer welcomed in Lake Lillian, Minn.

4K for Cancer riders arrive Tuesday at Lake Lillian where they spent the night in the town’s former school after sharing a supper with area residents who brought the food. The riders are college-age and pedaling from Baltimore to Seattle to raise money for cancer research. (Tribune photo by Gary Miller)1 / 2
Carly Harmon, of Ann Arbor, Mich., left, and Kelsea Kneisel, of Atlantic City, N.J., sample the hotdishes available for supper Tuesday in Lake Lillian. Community members served a meal to the cross-country cyclists raising money for cancer. (Tribune photo by Gary Miller)2 / 2

LAKE LILLIAN — Brightly colored bowls filled with hotdishes and salads lined the counter at the former school’s serving line Tuesday in Lake Lillian.

College-age men and women, some of them still in the blue jerseys and tight black shorts they wore while riding from Minneapolis to the town south of Willmar, mingled with the residents of Lake Lillian and nearby communities who provided the food.

It was supper time for the 4K for Cancer riders, young people who are close to someone with cancer, and are bicycling from Baltimore to Seattle to raise money for programs that fight the disease.

“I’ve heard some of them say this is the best stop of their ride,” said Bev Kellogg of Bird Island. She rode her bike to Lake Lillian to see the riders pedal into town.

She stood by the school building entrance and clapped for each of the riders as they rolled their bikes in, flipped the two-wheelers over and stood them in a row on their handlebars in a long line along the entrance hallway.

Lowell and Jean Petterson, both wearing 4K T-shirts, were there to greet the riders. Lowell explained that he owns the building and was surprised when he was first contacted by the group three years ago.

“I don’t know how they even called me,” he said.

The nearly 30 riders come from all over the country and, in a few cases, other countries.

They’re an impressive bunch, Jean Petterson added. Many of them are students at well-known universities, she said.

Each of the riders has to raise at least $4,500 to participate in the ride. That’s roughly a dollar for each mile they’ll ride during their journey that began June 2 and will end Aug. 10.

Besides supper, the riders used the showers, slept in the air-conditioned school building and, after breakfast today were back on the road.

Their next destination was Marshall.

Gary Miller

Born and attended public schools in Willmar, Minn. Served 20 years in U.S. Navy as a photojournalist. Worked at West Central Tribune since retiring from the Navy in 1994.

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