Alex is a recent graduate of the University of Connecticut who studied Psychology and Neuroscience. In the summer of 2011 he is riding with a group of college students on a 70 day, 4000 mile bike ride from Baltimore to San Francisco. Money raised by our riders goes to support 4K for Cancer's mission of spreading awareness, fostering hope and uniting communities across the country in the fight against cancer. We do this through cancer education programs, health screenings and by visiting cancer patients at hospitals, cancer centers and hospices each day during the ride. 4K also gives financial support to local, cancer centric non-profits in the communities we bike through.
When I told my family that I had decided to participate in the 4K, they asked, among other things, what I imagined the experience would be like—and I couldn’t give them an honest answer. They expressed concern over my lack of cycling experience, my sanity, and whether or not I could pack enough baby powder and diaper rash cream to deal with the inevitable chaffing. It all got me thinking about the obstacle that lies ahead of me. 60 days, 4000 miles, 1 bike. To say that the task intimidated me is putting it very lightly. I’ve never been through anything like this in my life, or faced an obstacle so large. How in the world am I supposed to do this?
I imagined that similar thoughts are had by people who have received a cancer diagnosis, suddenly facing an obstacle unlike any they have dealt with before. The difference–their struggle is exponentially more difficult. 4000 miles on a bike is not or never will be as hard as chemo. This realization made my fears seemingly inconsequential, and my decision made a lot more sense.
Our goal is to make this seemingly insurmountable disease easier to deal with. During our ride across the country we will be visiting cancer patients, survivors, and their families. We’ll provide them whatever we can offer, from financial assistance for their treatment to a warm smile and deep laugh. We aim to raise hope that this disease can be beaten, and finding a cure is only a matter of time. We will also provide access to cancer screenings and early detection education to underserved communities along our route.
I, like too many others, have seen the effects of cancer first hand. I lost my grandmother, Olivia Alamilla, to breast cancer when I was 13. By the time it was detected, it had progressed too far to be stopped. Her battle was short but very, very brave. I look back and think that if only she had known about early detection, she may have been able to treat it effectively—and likely go on see me graduate college. It’s the time that cancer took away from our family that most upsets me.
With every push of the pedal, I’ll think of her. I’ll think about my friends and coworkers whose lives have been affected by the disease. And I’ll think about the people still fighting their battle with the disease whom we’ll meet along the way. When asked what I think the experience will be like now, I can give you an answer. It will be difficult, it will hurt, and I will chafe, but it will be immensely rewarding, deeply meaningful, and help hundreds of people along our path.
With all of this in mind, I encourage you to donate. Any amount helps, and is very much appreciated!
Thank you in advance for your support,