Dong Hoon Lee
Dong Hoon Lee is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater. 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 San Franscisco.
What is your connection with the cancer community?
Even to this day, when the short hand of the clock is pointing eight, it often reminds me of the days when I used to take thyroid medicines to my mom. It was important for her to take the medicines every 24 hours, so it naturally became my routine because I cared for her. One day in 1996, my mom came home and told me and my sister that she had to start taking some medicines for they discovered a tumor in her thyroid. I was in a big shock. I thought the people around me would be free of cancer forever. That’s when I started taking care of my mom by remembering the time for her to take the medicines she needed in order to stop the tumor from growing. In 2004, I had a chance to be an exchange student in America. I took the chance and set my foot in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. A great year passed in America, and I decided to further my education in America. God planned my next home to be a small Christian high school in Turlock, California. Everything seemed perfect. It was February 2006, when my sister called me to tell me that my mom was diagnosed with a thyroid cancer. She just found out when she went in for a health check-up. It was a very big shock to me. The fact that I couldn’t do anything, not even be by my mom’s side, was the most frustrating and the toughest thing for me. I prayed so hard for my mom and asked my classmates to pray for her. After a few days, doctors decided to do a surgery on her thyroid to get rid of the tumor. When I heard she was about to go through a surgery, I really wanted to be there with her. But, all I could do was to sit and pray, there in California, 6,000 miles away from where I so longed to be. A few hours passed, and I finally got a phone call from my sister that the surgery was successful. Praise God. I was so thankful, but I was still a little bit worried because it was a big surgery. I could only believe that my mom was in a good condition when I went back to Korea that summer. She still had difficult times, especially with getting exhausted very easily and such. In February this year, my mom went to see the doctors and they said she was, at last, in remission! That is how I am connected to the cancer community. Watching my mom go through her fight against cancer, I really took it to my heart that one can be aware of the danger that cancer possesses and how scary it can be only when he watches someone close by struggle. I would like to be a part of the 4K for Cancer to help people realize what cancer really is, and to give them hope.
Why are you riding the 4K for Cancer?
The main reason why I want to ride on the 4K for Cancer is because it would be a great opportunity for me to experience the hardships my mom and many other cancer patients went through and still go through today. From the first moment I heard about the 4K, I wanted to be a part of it. I don’t think there are many meaningful events like the 4K one can do while he is young and able. What this organization does for the cancer patients really touched my heart. I also thought it was a brilliant idea to be one step closer to cancer patients when I read on the 4K website about how we would meet the cancer patients while cycling across the country and to draw parallels between the physical, emotional and spiritual struggles of our journey and the physical, emotional and spiritual struggles of their cancer journeys. Not many people are able to do what we will do next summer. I believe that every single person’s life on our cycling team will greatly be affected and changed by this ride in terms of ‘fighting cancer’. We will never forget how difficult it was, and therefore we will truly be able to relate to the people who have fought / are fighting cancer even though there is a big difference in that it was our choice to go on the journey, on the other hand, it wasn’t the cancer patients’ choice to go through their journeys. I would really like to take this opportunity to partake in the 4K for Cancer. Not only will our team benefit from traveling across the country in terms of building up our characters, I believe that many peoples’ lives will also benefit because of our team. I cannot wait to prove to the whole world that it doesn’t take a humongous amount of people to bring about the change that is so necessary in today’s world. I would also really want to learn many aspects from this trip and start a new wave in other parts of the world sometime in the future, perhaps I can start spreading the wave in my own country; South Korea.