Holly Warlick and Nikki Caldwell are accustomed to crossing the country scouting for the top recruits in women’s college basketball. This September, they are traversing the nation’s roads for a different reason.
The two assistant coaches for the national champion University of Tennessee women’s basketball team and four other individuals will depart Berkeley, Calif., on Sunday en route to Knoxville aboard Harley Davidson motorcycles to raise money for breast cancer awareness. Funds raised along the 2,700-mile journey, being billed as “Cruisin’ for a Cause,” will benefit The Wellness Community as well as other cancer charities.
”We’re really looking forward to traveling the country a little differently than we normally do, but more importantly we hope this trip will raise awareness and funds to fight a disease that could claim the lives of more than 40,000 women and 400 men this year,” associate head coach Warlick said.
The two will leave from Berkeley on Sunday following a Saturday rally that precedes the football Vols’ first game of the season against California. Their route, being sponsored by FedEx/Kinko’s, takes them through Las Vegas; Flagstaff, Ariz.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Amarillo, Texas; Dallas; Little Rock, Ark.; Memphis and Nashville.
”The entire experience has been amazing,” Caldwell shared. “The team that we’ve put together to help get our foundation up and running has been very supportive. The corporate sponsorship that we’ve received has been huge. We want to make sure all the proceeds go to research for breast cancer.
”The main reason I’m doing this is because breast cancer has touched so many peoples lives that I know personally. A lot of people I’ve talked to about this have been touched by it as well. One of my best friends dear to me was diagnosed. It has hit home. Holly came up with the idea to ride cross country and approached me and I was definitely on board.”
During the 11-day trip, special events and rallies will be held in Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Dallas, Little Rock, Memphis and Nashville. A celebration concert and rally will welcome the voyagers back Sept. 12 to Knoxville’s Market Square from 5:30-9 p.m.
Businesses or individuals interested in supporting “Cruisin’ for a Cause” have the opportunity to do so through sponsorships or pledges. Pledges may be made at any of the rallies or through the Web site www.VolunteersCruisin.com. Visit that site for more information or to follow the duo’s daily blog.