Abe is a senior at The Johns Hopkins University. In the summer of 2012 he is riding with a group of college students on a 70 day, 4000 mile bike ride from Baltimore to Seattle.
What is your connection with the cancer community?
My grandparents have lived in Everett, Washington since before I was born, and my entire mother’s side lives near Seattle as well. Unfortunately, I was born and raised across the country in northeast Ohio, so we seldom have the opportunity to visit them. Due to time conflicts and budget restraints, the last time I was able to visit my grandparents was in 2006 for their 50th wedding anniversary, where I got to see our mother’s entire family for the first time ever. My grandfather was diagnosed with liver cancer for the first time seven years ago. The news came terribly to us, and the distance made it even worse—the fact that the four of us couldn’t just drive over to see him in the hospital. The only option for him was to have surgery. Thank God when we found out that his surgery was successful! My grandfather officially became a cancer survivor. Today he is 77 years old and has been diagnosed with liver cancer three times. The past two surgeries were successful and are the reason why he is alive today, but they left him equally weaker and the next cancer diagnosis sooner. This time, he can't have another surgery and must go through special therapy. Unfortunately, he doesn’t want to go through it. We all sincerely urge him to, but ultimately it is his choice.
Why are you riding the 4K for Cancer?
This summer, I want to ride with the team to Seattle to greet him. I want to show him that I truly care for him and to convince him to keep fighting. He has fought hard and survived, not just once but twice, but now he’s on the verge of giving up. I want to come to him in an attempt to have the same passion that he had to survive. Biking across the country in an effort to spread cancer awareness and support people with cancer will show him that I, our family, and my supporters want him to keep fighting. All the support that I receive to bike to Seattle will be support for him to continue his journey through life—to keep fighting in his battle against cancer. Our family is not ready to lose him.