Darcy is a senior at the Johns Hopkins University. In the summer of 2012 she is riding with a group of college students on a 70 day, 4000+ mile bike ride from Baltimore to San Francisco.
What is your connection with the cancer community?
As a senior at Johns Hopkins University, my incoming phone calls usually fall into one of three categories. 1) A parent calling to check in, 2) my younger brother calling to catch up, or 3) a friend calling for a coffee break or a study session. When my phone rang the afternoon of October 7, 2011, I certainly wasn’t prepared for “Did you hear? Shelly’s in the hospital.” I have no actual memory of a time before I knew Shelly and her husband Ben. Ben and my dad served as pastors at the same church, and I’m told my first interactions with Shelly began as an infant at my parents’ choir rehearsals, where Shelly’s beautiful voice was a much loved feature. At the age of four, I then entered preschool where Shelly became my first teacher. As a prominent member of my church’s Children’s Ministry, she continued to be a mentor to me as I entered kindergarten and continued through middle school. Fortunately, Ben served as the youth pastor at our church, so growing up only brought me under closer influence of this wonderful woman. Between youth retreats, personal chats, family dinners, babysitting their daughter, and learning how to be a loving and caring adult from their impeccable examples, both Ben and Shelly influenced my childhood and young adulthood in more ways than I’ll ever understand. Over the weeks after I received that first phone call, doctors began to learn more and more about Shelly’s condition. The original ER visit revealed blood clots throughout her feet, legs, and the four quadrants of her lungs, and further tests were done until the source of the problem was finally located. On October 14th, I received a second call—Shelly had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. And I signed up for the 4K. Shelly has since undergone surgery in which the doctors were miraculously able to remove all the cancer. As she starts chemotherapy over the coming weeks, I will be honored to stand beside this amazing woman as I begin to fundraise and train for the ride I am dedicating to her, Ben, and their children. I love you all, and I’ll see you in San Francisco!
Why are you riding the 4K for Cancer?
I have always had a heart for serving those in need. Whether it means teaching an after-school ballet program to inner city Baltimore elementary school students, doing yard work for a shelter downtown, or baking a cake for a friend who’s having a rough week, I believe community service can take many different forms. The 4K is certainly a unique form. Just as it is currently touching me through my friend Shelly, very few escape the effects of cancer whether they wrestle with the disease personally or assist in the fight of someone they love. Support for cancer research and cancer patients can thus have an impact on countless people throughout the world. Becoming a rider in the 4K for Cancer seems like not only a perfect way to make my contribution to such a widespread tragedy, but also a perfect way to pay tribute to the endurance and strength of a cherished friend. Of course, many other opportunities besides the 4K would give me the chance to raise money for cancer research, honor Shelly, and serve the greater cancer community as well. Why the 4K in particular, then? First, since Shelly’s husband Ben is an avid cyclist, I believe the ride would be a perfect way to honor their family. Second, I am currently a premedical student at Johns Hopkins University working toward a career in Primary Care Sports Medicine. Naturally, activities like cycling are of extreme interest to me and comprise the majority of my favorite pastimes. In looking for a way to support the cancer community, the 4K thus seems like a natural fit. Third, I know that the sacrifice and perseverance involved in biking from one side of the country to the other adds an extra level of inspiration to the cause. Not only does the 4K raise money for cancer research and the assistance of cancer patients, but it also shows them that someone cares. They are not alone in this fight. I would be honored to be a piece of that inspiration.