Heather is a recent graduate of Cornell University. In the summer of 2013 she is riding with a group of college-aged students on a 70 day, 4000+ mile bike ride from Baltimore, MD to San Francisco, CA.
What is your connection with the cancer community?
Like so many others, I have lost loved ones to cancer. Since I can remember, I have known that this thing "cancer" existed - though initially it was just a nuisance to me because it meant that my grandmother couldn't play on the beach with us. Instead, she had to stay covered up with her huge hat; sitting under her umbrella to avoid sunlight. As I got older, my understanding of cancer began to change. Unfortunately, so did the circumstances. That same grandmother, who I had never seen touch a cigarette, was diagnosed with lung cancer. This diagnosis was devastating to me. My grandmother knew me better than anyone in the world. She was my confidante, my pen pal and one of my closest friends. After a long, gruesome battle, we lost her when I was ten years old. Since then, I have lost others and witnessed friends and family go through the same ordeal: watching our loved ones get sick and fight so incredibly hard while we sit on the sidelines wishing there was more we could do.
Why are you riding with the 4K for Cancer?
I am riding the 4K for Cancer because it gives me the opportunity I have been looking for: to do more for the cancer community. It combines a cross-country bike ride with fundraising and community service. I will be able to share my story and the stories of so many others while meeting multitudes of cancer patients, survivors and their friends and family along the way. I know it will be difficult, but the challenge is one of the things that makes it so great. Nothing about cancer is easy and I expect that nothing about this endeavor will be easy either. I am so excited for all the adventures to come and hope that by completing this ride I can inspire all of us to continue in the fight against cancer.