This summer, three college students from the West County area will embark on an extraordinary journey across the country. South River High School graduate Meredith Willson and Arundel High School graduates Christopher Say and Zachary Jones will all participate in 4K for Cancer, a program organized by the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults in which college students ride their bikes across the United States to support young adults affected by cancer.
Wilson and Jones, both students at University of Maryland, College Park, will be riding from Baltimore to Portland, Oregon; while Say, a student at University of Maryland University College, will be riding from Baltimore to San Diego.
Each trip is a 70-day excursion that will cover over 4,000 miles, and the three students and their teams are currently collecting sponsorships of their journeys to raise money in support of young adults affected by cancer. In 2012, 88 4K for Cancer participants traveled across America and raised nearly $500,000 for cancer victims and their families, and this year the local trio has already raised a total of $11,275 towards their combined goal of $17,000. 4K for Cancer, now in its 13th year of operation, will also have teams riding from Baltimore to San Francisco and Baltimore to Seattle, as well as, for the first time ever, a team running from San Francisco to Baltimore.
The participants are mostly driven by the personal experience of someone close to them who has been affected by cancer, and the three West County natives are no exception. Willson, whose grandfather died of cancer and who has had several younger loved ones diagnosed with the disease, sees the trip as her opportunity to offer help to others while seeing the country and pushing her boundaries.
“I am riding so that one day, hopefully, no one will have to experience the heartache of losing a loved one to cancer and so that no victim of cancer ever feels alone,” said Willson.
Two of Jones’ grandparents passed away from cancer, and he sees the ride as a chance to benefit cancer patients and researchers while also experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
“I was thinking about my connection with the cancer community, and I decided that I want to ride in memory and honor of all of my family and friends who have had to endure cancer or had loved ones enduring cancer,” said Jones.
Say has an uncle whose father was recently diagnosed with cancer and a best friend whose mother previously suffered the disease.
“To me, 4,000 miles is nothing compared to the tumultuous trials cancer patients have to endure,” said Say.
Those who wish to donate to the cause of Willson, Jones and Say or who would like to learn more about 4K for Cancer can visit http://4kforcancer.org. Click on “2013 Rides” and select “Baltimore to Portland” and/or “Baltimore to San Diego” to find the personal profiles of Willson, Say and Jones, where you can make direct donations to their individual rides.