Chelsea Johnson is a sophomore at the University of Maryland. In the summer of 2014 she is traveling with a group of college-aged students on a 70 day, 4000 mile bike ride from Baltimore to Portland.
What is your connection to the Cancer Community?
I have a few connections to the Cancer Community. First and foremost, my mother, had uterine cancer when I was four years old. She kept it a secret from a lot of people. I didn't know until I was 18 years old, and a lot of our family members still have no idea. Luckily, she didn't have to go through chemotherapy. However, she said that the reason that she doesn't tell many people is because it made her feel like less of a woman. No woman should ever feel like they are less than others because of cancer. That's not cool at all!
My grandfather had lymphoma of the ileum (lower part of colon) in December 2009. He went through chemotherapy. It was crazy to see what chemotherapy did to him. It really drained him, but luckily he is in remission now, and is doing so so so much better.
One of my very best friends, Kelsey, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma her senior year of high school. Unfortunately, we were not friends until college, so I didn't get the chance to be there for her the way I wish I could have. She is incredible. Until this past summer, she wasn't able to bend her left knee at all, yet she was still one of the happiest and optimistic people I know.
Why are you traveling over 4000 miles this summer with the 4K?
This semester, I have been fortunate enough to meet a young man living in my building who had leukemia and is currently in remission. I told him about how I wanted to do the 4k for Cancer, and his immediate response was "oh the Ulman Cancer fund? Wow they are so awesome". He then showed me this necklace that they had given him, and he told me all about Team Fight, and the Cancer to 5k that he was going to participate in. He had so many positive things to say about Ulman. I want to be apart of that joy. I want to be partially responsible for helping young adults, just like him, and letting them know that they aren't alone in their fight.
I'm also doing it for my wonderful mother, grandfather, and best friend Kelsey. They all blow my mind with their positive attitudes.
I have been told by past 4k'ers that it is going to be the best summer of my entire life. I cannot wait for this awesome experience!!