With Cycle Oregon now underway in South Oregon, thoughts are turning to Mark Bosworth, the avid cyclist and longtime Cycle Oregon volunteer who disappeared during the event last year. Mark, then 54 years old, went missing on the night of Friday, Sept. 16, near Riddle High School. As the anniversary of his disappearance nears, Mark's wife Julie and daughters Kelly and Claire are announcing a special fund to help others enjoy the annual riding event he so loved.
The Mark Bosworth Fund
"Kelly, Claire and I have decided to honor Mark by setting up the Mark Bosworth Fund to give a scholarship to one person each year to ride Cycle Oregon," said Julie Bosworth. "The fee of $895 for the week-long ride prevents some people from participating. We know Mark would love the idea of waiving that fee for someone each year who has never been on the ride before, perhaps someone under 30 years of age — Mark loved mentoring young people and getting them on bikes!"
The goal is to create an endowment of $25,000 - $30,000 to enable the fund to give the annual scholarship indefinitely. There are about 2,200 spots available a year for Cycle Oregon, but the week-long ride usually sells out quick. Organizers will hold a spot for the Mark Bosworth scholarship recipient.
Contributions can be made to the Mark Bosworth Fund at any US Bank branch, or by sending a check to:
The Mark Bosworth Fund
2000 NE 42nd, Suite 166
Portland, OR 97213
The 501(c)3 status, ensuring that donations to the fund will be tax deductible, is expected in a few months.
Honoring Mark during Cycle Oregon 2012
Cycle Oregon has made buttons with Mark's photo on them available for volunteers and riders to wear during this year's ride. Julie, Kelly, Claire and Mark's brother, Eric Bosworth, will join Cycle Oregon at certain points during the week.
"It is hard to believe that we still don't know anything more about what happened on September 16 than we did that same weekend a year ago," said Julie. "There have been no new leads or clues since that time. However, I do know something more than I did then — I know now how much love and compassion and effort can pour out of people when one of us goes missing. Kelly and Claire and I thank you for all your loving support last September and in the months since then. We three continue to miss Mark each and every day, but we find love and joy in our lives and look to the future with energy and passion. I hope we all remember Mark in our hearts and live and love well."
Douglas County Sheriff's Office efforts continue
The Douglas County Sheriff's Office continues to keep Mark's missing persons case open. The $10,000 reward for information leading to Mark's whereabouts remains in place. Anyone with information in the case is asked to call the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 541-957-2099.
Sept. 16, 2011 - Vanished into the night
Friend and fellow cyclist Greg Bolen was among the last to see Mark late on the night of Sept. 16, 2011 at Riddle High School where Cycle Oregon had set up camp. Bolen said Mark had been confused at dinner that night and wandered off before his food arrived. Later he told Bolen he had run into a friend and lost track of time. Mark said he left his flashlight in his tent two blocks away so Bolen lent him his headlamp. Bolen and another friend offered to walk with Mark to his tent but he declined. Mark headed off toward his tent at about 11:15 p.m. never to be seen again.
Three separate people did report seeing a man matching Mark's description hitchhiking in the area in the early morning hours of Saturday, Sept. 17. Police were never able to locate any driver who picked up the man.
Medical condition likely led to disappearance
Based on his demeanor and actions the night he vanished as well as in the days and weeks leading up to his disappearance, Mark's family and doctors believe the cancer he had successfully beat back twice had returned. In the summer of 2007, Mark was first diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma after he noticed a lump under his chin that wasn’t going away. He underwent a comprehensive chemotherapy regiment. In the summer of 2009, the same cancer returned - this time in his eye. He underwent eight months of treatment, including injections of chemo in his eyes and radiation therapy. Because the cancer had passed what medical experts call the blood-brain barrier, Mark had a bone marrow transplant in April of 2010.
Mark had seemed off and confused the day he went missing, as well as in the days leading up to his disappearance. Initially, while at Cycle Oregon, Mark had been asked to shuttle riders and equipment from place to place, but organizers were concerned about his driving. He only rode one day of the event because he was having trouble following the signs. He was often seen standing alone, staring - behavior unusual to him. Mark shrugged off concerns from those around him, saying he had a headache and was tired.
In the weeks prior to Cycle Oregon, family members noticed Mark was repeating himself. He also seemed less active and complained of bad headaches. It was concerning enough that he scheduled appointments with his oncologist and opthamologist - but made them for after Cycle Oregon. An avid cyclist, he didn’t want to miss it.
Efforts to find Mark