Nana Adu Krow
Nana is a senior at George Washington University. 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 Francisco.
What is your connection with the cancer community?
Getting accepted to college was a big celebration in my family. Family members from Ghana and London would call me upon hearing the news and congratulate me on a job well done. While I was extremely happy for my achievement with getting into a top school like George Washington University, I was incredibly sad as well. Though my success had awarded me an incredible opportunity to receive higher education, I would be leaving my friends behind. These are the people I grew up with and felt the most comfortable around and I couldn’t imagine experiencing a “first day of school” all over again. The awkward feeling of making friends from scratch with complete strangers scared me. In order to break myself into the school and force myself to make friends I joined a team on campus called Capital Funk. This was a hip hop dance team that wasn’t just prominent on the school’s campus, but also popular among the East Coast hip hop dance teams as well. It was there that I met my best friend, Christopher Lipinski. When we first met, Chris and I were the fiercest of rivals and we competed against each other on who would make certain dance pieces. We each wanted to prove that either he or I was the best freshman on the team. It wasn’t long that in our rivalry we became fast friends. Looking back to that time I know that my smooth transition from high school to college was through my close friendship with Chris. He helped me to open up, branch out, and experience college to the fullest extent. Throughout our early years in college we always spoke about visiting each other during the holidays. However these talks never came into fruition until junior year of college. While I planned on visiting him in Manhattan during spring, he told me about his mother and that fact that she was very sick. Chris explained that his mother had been diagnosed with cancer and that it had been progressing in severity. The first reason as to why this news made me upset was that my best friend wasn’t able to tell me about the things that troubled and concerned him. He was always the type of guy to listen to others first and I would have gladly returned the favor of being his listener because he deserved it. The other reason why I was upset was that I wanted to meet his parents at some point. I wanted to visit Chris in a home that was filled with laughter and hope. The type of environment that I believe was the home he grew up in. Her sickness got to the point that visiting Chris with his parents would have been inappropriate and impossible. I knew after talking with Chris that his moments spent with his mother were fleeting and I didn’t want to rob him of that. Even with all the pain in his life that he experienced, he always sought the positive. He always wanted to cheer others and make others laugh. Most importantly he always was about others over himself. Chris has been a once in a lifetime friend to me and I believe his mother who died of cancer had been paramount in raising him to be the person that he is today. My regret was that I was never able to meet and talk with her. If Chris is any indication of how his mother was, than I believe her and I would have been fast friends.
Why are you riding the 4K for Cancer?
There are no unique reasons why I want to ride on the 4K. However there are unique individuals and people I want to ride on the 4K for. I want to ride for Chris. Chris was able to do so many things for me in college and I honestly never felt like I did enough to show how much I appreciated our friendship. I would like to ride on this 4K for Cancer journey out of respect for Chris and our friendship but also out of respect for his mother. I never was able to meet her nor was I able to attend her funeral. However I would like to pay my respects to her in this way. While riding across America sounds like a grand gesture for one person whom I never met, I feel like she represents the victims across the country that are diagnosed with cancer. Meeting Chris allowed me to not only imagine and see how cancer can break down foundations in family, but how it can destroy the life of the victim as well as hurt loved ones. I would like to journey across the U.S to not only bike for Chris, but to meet families or victims of cancer to really see what people who suffer from this horrible disease are going through. This trip wouldn’t just be a journey for me from one city to another, but a once in a lifetime learning experience. When I hear cancer I used to just think of the term and the biological processes that occur. I still do. After meeting Chris I want to put names and faces to this disease.