For many of us, the Memorial Day Weekend marked the unofficial start of summer and a day to remember those that have served our country. This past Memorial Day weekend, I spent time with an amazing group of 90 young men and women that added a whole new meaning to the weekend – a cross country journey to support the young adult cancer fight!
On Sunday morning at approximately 8:30 am, 90 college students from all across the Mid-Atlantic, dipped the back tires of their bicycles into the Baltimore Inner Harbor to ceremoniously mark the beginning of the 4K for Cancer. Many of these riders are strangers right now but over the course of the next three months they will bike cross country for cancer while building lifelong friendships and becoming a powerful force in the fight against cancer.
4K for Cancer is an amazing organization and partner of the UCF that I’ve mentioned in previous blogs. Much like UCF, they were founded on a college campus by Johns Hopkins student Ryan Hanley and his friends whose lives had been impacted by cancer. Fueled by a personal passion to make a difference and a vision of doing something many thought was impossible (or just plain crazy), they rode their bikes cross country to raise awareness and money for the cancer fight while instilling hope in people and communities they encountered.
This year 4K and UCF started a fitting partnership where the fundraising efforts from these 90 college students will go to support UCF’s mission and young adults facing cancer. 4K funds will specifically help UCF support the expansion of our navigation program efforts to more cancer centers in the Mid-Atlantic. Funds from this years ride will enable us to begin young adult navigation programing at Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center.
After the tradition of dipping their tires into the Harbor, the 90 riders broke up into three groups to prepare to start their cross-country journey. Four thousand miles (4K) and 70 days later one group will end up in San Francisco, one in Seattle, and one in Portland.
Prior to Sunday’s kick-off, I had the humbling opportunity to address the riders a few times to both thank them for their support and to remind them of how critically important their efforts were to helping their peers back here in Baltimore fighting cancer.
UCF was presented with a $100K commitment by 4K for Cancer to expand its Navigation Programs to additional cancer centers in Baltimore. As I told the riders, while they’re pedaling and busting their butts the next three months to get cross-country, we’ll be doing the same back here in Baltimore to help more young adults navigate their cancer journey.
Thank you to David, Ryan, the entire 4K Board, and 2011 Riders for believing in the work of UCF and taking on the issue of young adult cancer! After my remarks and the ride kick-off, a mother and her 20 year old daughter came up to me to say hello and thank you. Her daughter recently finished her cancer treatment at Hopkins and she was so excited to know that one of her friends riding cross country would be helping support other young adults like her.
For more photos go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ulmancancerfund/sets/72157626726970439/