Natalie is a sophomore studying Geography at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. In the summer of 2011 she is riding with a group of college students on a 70 day, 4000 mile bike ride from Baltimore to Portland. Money raised by our riders goes to support 4K for Cancer's mission of spreading awareness, fostering hope and uniting communities across the county in the fight against cancer. We do this through cancer education programs, health screenings and by visiting cancer patients at hospitals, cancer centers and hospices each day during the ride. 4K also gives financial support to local, cancer centric non-profits in the communities we bike through.
Throughout my life, many members of my family have been attacked by different forms of cancer. Outside of my immediate family I know so many more people who have gotten the disease, including my cousin, aunt, friends, and teachers. Unfortunately, not all of them survived the ordeal, but I am ever thankful that some of them managed to pull through.
I have always believed that the fight against cancer is a fight that can be won. That’s why in high school I started the Fight Cancer Club, a club dedicated to raising money and awareness of cancer and the different opportunities we can all take to participate and volunteer. Although I was very involved in the cancer community in high school this focus has since faded away once I got to college as I became wrapped up in my classes, friends, and newfound freedom. Recently, upon some reflection, I realized how much I missed helping others and wished to participate in something much bigger than myself, but had no idea what that could be.
When I first heard about the 4K for Cancer through one of my friends who had already signed up for the ride, I was impressed with his determination and courage, but never thought I would be joining him in his epic journey across the United States. I already had plans and a job lined up for the summer and couldn’t wait to see my friends from home. I decided to do a little research to see if there were other less time consuming ways I could help the 4K cause, but instead ended up applying to be one of the riders when I realized what an incredible opportunity I would be giving up if I didn’t. Now I am suddenly a part of this 90 person team and am excited to see where this journey will take me.
I know this trip will be physically and emotionally demanding, but I’m ready for the challenge. The fact that I will be helping the people that mean so much to me, not to mention so many others will be my motivation throughout each of the 60 days. I can’t wait to begin!