At 9 a.m. today (June 24), officers with the Houston Police Department Bicycle Relay Team departed from City Hall on the first leg of their nine-day, 2,500 mile journey to San Francisco to raise money to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

“This year is going to be tough,” said HPD Senior Police Officer Jorge Gaytan. “But I know our cancer patients, those fighting the disease, those in the hospital, would trade places with us any day of the week.”

This is the 35th year HPD officers have donated their time to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. To date, officers have traveled almost 74,000 miles and raised more than $5.7 million to help find a cure and improve the quality of life for those battling blood-related cancers.

“These riders buy their own bikes. They train on their own, pay for their own jerseys, pay for their meals,” said Officer Gaytan. “Each and every one of them knows the more money that goes toward research, the closer we can get to a cure.”

Team members will wear at least one “dog tag” featuring the name of the patient or survivor who serves as their inspiration.

“The jingling is to remind us not to quit, not to give up,” said Officer Gaytan.