Casey is a senior at St. Mary's College of Maryland. 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?
Cancer has played a significant role in my family. My paternal Grandmother died of lung cancer, my maternal Grandmother and my Aunt Nancy are breast cancer survivors, and my Uncle Steve is a prostate cancer survivor. My closest connection with cancer was with my grandfather, or as I called him, Pop Pop. He was a man of great character that I can only hope to achieve. Five years ago he died of colon cancer which was a real wake up call to me. It was the first death of a close family member that I had experienced and it made me look at life in a whole new way. He is my role model and I hope that he would be proud of the way I live my life and the direction I am going. Pop Pop was always offering to help me no matter what the task, doing the most he could to the best of his ability. Even during his radiation treatment, where he was at his weakest of points, he tried to help others. When I went down to visit him and help him out during his treatment he just seemed like a different person. He had no energy and that cheerful chuckle he always did that always made me smile and feel good was missing. To see him in that state was really tough for me because I knew how much he liked to go out and enjoy all the wonders of life. He also loved hosting and helping out with everything but he had no energy and I could just see his frustration as we cooked and cleaned for him. However, even during this time, I really enjoyed sitting down and talking with him. He was a very proud and cheerful man who loved telling stories, especially of his Navy days, and I loved hearing them. Every time he told me a story of his past you could see the happiness glow through his skin. He was a devoted family man who loved his kids and grandkids. My greatest memories of Pop Pop were when my brother and I were 12 and 14 and we lived with him for a week in Florida. We played golf with him almost every day. We connected the most on the golf course; he loved the game and taught me everything I know about golfing. It was a place of joy and laughter that allowed us to create a tight bond. About six months after my visit to help him out I was on the golf course with my family when my mom got the call of his passing and it was devastating. He had been on his road to recovery and was doing much better but the cancer had taken too much out of him and his heart gave out. For a man who had such great character and values, for his life to be cut short because of cancer pains me beyond description. But it drives me to make a difference and to help give people hope in the fight against cancer.
Why are you riding the 4K for Cancer?
The 4k is my chance to make a contribution to the cancer community in honor of my family members. Compared to the physical battle my they endured while fighting cancer, committing to biking across the country in 70 days seems like the least I can do for them. I hope to not only raise money to help support cancer patients but to personally make an impact on people’s lives through the community service before, during and after the bike ride. This is a great opportunity for me to help make a difference and I cannot pass it up. I feel I have not personally contributed enough of my service to the community and this bike ride will be the beginning of my mission to make a bigger impact on those in need. By biking across the country helping people and listening to their stories it will drive me to continue even after the 4k to contribute my service to cancer patients. Cancer is a terrifying disease; people live in the unknown, not knowing what their future is. Battling the unknown is tough fight and I want to help instill hope in these peoples’ lives. The tiniest support for these people can make a huge impact on their life whether it be listening to their story or helping them through tough times. I believe by surrounding myself with people on the same mission as me, my fellow bikers, I can learn from them and build off of their efforts. And together I think all of us can come together and do great things for cancer patients across the country. I feel biking across the country is a great way to show our dedication and commitment to helping the cancer community. Through our perseverance and compassion as a group we can make a true difference in the world. Our impact will not only be felt in the people we meet along the way but it will raise awareness across the country. The 4k has a great mission, one of kindness and love for all, making the world a better place. Tackling cancer is one of the hardest jobs in the world and the 4k works to help make it the most comfortable it can be. I want to ride on the 4k to help be a part of this great mission and contribute all that I have to offer to it.