Carolyn is a student at Johns Hopkins University where she is studying Public Health. In the summer of 2011 she is riding with a group of college students on a 70 day, 4000 mile bike ride from Baltimore to Seattle. Money raised by our riders goes 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 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.
As a well-known lawyer in the Dallas community, Tapa could go to dinner and inevitably see someone he knew. In addition to the lawyers, the businessmen, and the civil servants, however, Tapa knew the names of every cashier, waitress, and bus boy and would frequently take time to chat with each of them in a restaurant, in a grocery store or at the country club. Tapa succumbed to cancer of the appendix when I was seven years old.
Just after I turned one, Auntie Carlene started taking care of me during the day. It was at her house that I fell in love with purple dinosaur named Barney, I started playing with letter magnets, I first tried cheeseburger macaroni and, when I was a little older, I first learned to sew. Three years after the death of my grandfather, my Auntie Carlene also succumbed to the disease. By the age of ten, I had become one of the many people worldwide impacted by cancer.
Cycling 4,000 miles across the United States will be a personal testament to my Tapa and to my Auntie Carlene, their stories and their fights. More than that, however, the ride will provide me the opportunity to meet men and women from across the nation who may be fighting, who may be grieving and who may wanting to share their story. Everyone has a story. There are stories that prematurely end because of cancer. There are stories changed completely by loss of someone dear. There are stories that continue today because a valiant battle against cancer was won. In connecting my story and the stories of those across the country, we will be creating the bond that will inspire the will to keep fighting, to keep searching and to keep hoping. In these connections, we are uniting a community dedicated to the fight against cancer and in so doing coming that much closer to finding a cure.
I will be graduating with a BA in Public Health Studies in May 2011. Following the 4k, I hope to return to western Kenya to take part in the establishment of a feasible and cost-effective cervical cancer screening program there. As cliché or idealistic as it might sound, I truly am out to change the world. One story at a time.