Len cycles through hills with challenging short climbs to arrive at his final stop in his home state, Athens. Thank you to the students of Chesapeake High School, for the historical and fun facts about each of the time stations across the course. At TS44, Len is thinking about Jacob who is 12 years old and from Bethesda, Maryland. Jacob's parent Tomara writes:
"Jacob’s journey began in Germany, where our family had been living at the time. He had a regular doctor’s appointment in 2015. He mentioned that his hip hurt. No big deal; a growing 10 year-old boy is bound to have aches and pains. Then he “hurt” his foot and he started to noticeably lose weight.
One week later we made the trek to Landstuhl Hospital to see the pediatrician. They said Jacob had leukemia and that treatment needed to start right away. We ended up on a flight from Ramstein, Germany to Walter Reed Army Medical Center the next day. He flew in on a Wounded Warrior flight, full of injured or emergency evac soldiers and airmen.
We were so disconnected. Our family was in Germany while our extended family on the west coast. While at Walter Reed, we were connected with the Hopecam organization. They blessed Jacob with a tablet, but that wasn’t everything. They offered us a wi-fi hotspot with unlimited data. What an enormous blessing! Some treatments kept Jacob away from family and church friends for weeks at a time. He was able to Skype and I watched his face light up as he reconnected. He still has a full 16 months left of treatment but he is ornery and full of energy!"
Athens is the county seat of Athens County, OH and the home to Ohio University. It has a population of more than 25,000 residents, more than a third of whom attend Ohio U. The first permanent European settlers arrived in Athens in 1797. In 1800, the town site was first surveyed and plotted, but it was not incorporated as a village until 1811. In the meantime, Ohio had become a state in 1803. Ohio University was chartered in 1804 and became the first major university in the western territories. Although it has always been known as a sleepy college town, coal mining and brick making were the major industries in Athens until the 1960s. Today, most of the citizens are employed by the Ohio University and its economy revolves around events at the school.