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.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Day 33: The Gateway to the East (Defiance, MO to Vandalia, IL - 113 miles)

After reluctantly leaving the comfort of the bed and breakfast, we ventured toward St. Louis. The Katy Trail provided a nice, relaxing start to the morning, but we said our farewells before crossing the Missouri River and into the city. We saw a cyclist in the parking lot near the bridge, and he was able to provide us with a great scenic route through Creve Couer Park, which is on the way into St. Louis. We enjoyed the flat, winding path though the woods and around a lake, before branching off into the outskirts of the city. We were warned by multiple people to avoid north St. Louis because of its crime, so we were confident that we'd have a nice ride into downtown to see the arch. Needless to say, we can't imagine how sketchy the north side must be. Rolling down what seemed to be the central path to the city, we pedaled past some pretty bad sections of town. We were relieved when the Arch made its way into our line of sight. Once we neared closer to downtown, the city got a lot nicer, and we finally felt safe. The Gateway to the West, or to the East for us, really makes the St. Louis skyline look incredible.

We had a lot of miles to go in the day so we didn't spend too much time under the arch, but it's definitely something worth checking out. Our path then took us across the Mississippi, which, unlike the Arch, was less spectacular than we were hoping.

We then entered Illinois- our 7th state so far.

The Illinois roads provided us with some great riding. The rolling hills of Missouri and eastern Kansas subsided, and the winding roads were fun to navigate. We tried our luck again with "Road Closed" signs (remember back to Kansas), and once again our risk paid off. More direct routes trump the chance of getting yelled at by police, any day. We made it into Vandalia just in time for dinner, and the China Buffet sign in the distance provided more excitement than seeing the Arch (just kidding- sort of). The fried dough bites were so good. And the egg rolls. And the hot and sour soup. And- well, I'll stop. Here's some commentary from today.


  1. Glad you guys made it safely through St. Louis. Keep up the awesome biking and blogging! You're doing a fantastic job!


  2. Great that you got to ride through Creve Coeur park as I enjoy that area as well as the Katy trail. I wish you 2 would have gone up inside the arch! Next time... also you must visit the St. Louis zoo which is known to be one of the BEST in the world! :)