I have been an avid cyclist, explorer, and traveler for the greater part of my life. I’ve always been very enthralled by the world around me, and I know that I’ve been provided with the opportunity and ability to explore and enjoy every little part of it for as long as I can. I aim to accomplish as much as possible in the short amount of time I am allotted with, and intend to enjoy every day that I have the pleasure of experiencing.
Unfortunately, sometimes things prevent us from our goals and aspirations. About five years ago, my uncle was diagnosed with pancreatic and cerebral cancer. He had lived a long and celebrated life as a father, a grandfather, and a decorated veteran of the Baltimore City Police Force. But as his condition progressed and eventually developed into bone cancer, it overcame him and he passed away earlier this year. Although he had lived for several decades, his time was still cut short and many more years of experiences were taken from him.
Cancer claims a significant number of deaths per year. In 2007, almost 8 million deaths worldwide were caused by cancer. Chances are many of you who are reading this are connected to someone fighting against cancer, whether it be a friend, family member, coworker, or yourself. Even if you aren’t connected with someone battling cancer, the word “cancer” itself is powerful enough to evoke some sort of response from you.
In the summer of 2011, I will bike cross-country from Baltimore, Maryland to San Francisco, California over the span of 60 days with the Baltimore-based organization 4K for Cancer. I will ride to honor my uncle’s memory, I will ride to celebrate my friends that have been fortunate enough to survive their fights against cancer, and I will ride to give strength to my friends and their loved ones who are still battling against cancer.
I know my journey will be long and arduous, and will present countless challenges for me to overcome: fatigue, stress, exhaustion, anger, fear, etc. I will draw strength from those that experience hardships like these every day to achieve my goals and contribute in whatever way I can to the fight against cancer.
I will not be alone though. I will join dozens of other riders just like myself in an effort to do our part to help eradicate cancer. Through fundraising done by each rider, we will be able to support 4K for Cancer’s mission of spreading awareness, fostering hope and uniting communities across the county in the fight against cancer. We do this through cancer education programs, health screenings, and visits to cancer patients at hospitals, cancer centers and hospices each day during the ride. 4K for Cancer also gives financial support to local, cancer centric non-profits in the communities we bike through.
With the help and support of my friends, family, team mates, and fraternity (Phi Kappa Sigma; our national philanthropy is the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America), I know I will be able to persevere and complete my journey. As I prepare for my ride across the country, I challenge all of you to become an active member in the struggle against cancer in some way. Donate to an organization that supports cancer research. Volunteer. Fundraise. Just remember that whatever you do, it contributes to the fight against cancer.
If you would like to donate to my rider fund, you may contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through campus mail box 1453.