Nellie is a senior at Loyola University Maryland. 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 Portland. She is the Public Relations Coordinator for the Portland ride.
What is your connection with the cancer community?
Ever since I can really remember, someone close to me has been battling some sort of cancer (breast cancer, specifically). When I was in Middle School my mother was struggling with breast cancer. At the time I really didn't understand what was going on, but because I was at a very observant age, I realized it was something completely hindering my moms life. When I got to high school my grandmother, after struggling with it, ended up dying of cancer and in the very same month my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer again. Two of the closest women in my family have struggled with it. My Mom was so blessed to have beat cancer. On top of that, she was lucky to have friends and my siblings and I, there day in and day out. Meals were cooked for her when she didn't feel well and someone was always there to take her to chemo. Not everyone is as lucky as she was and I don't want anyone to ever have to feel like they are going through cancer alone. The 4k For Cancer is giving us the opportunity to keep company and at the very least, give hope to those who are battling this horrific disease.
Why are you riding the 4K for Cancer?
Until this past summer, I had never heard of the 4k for cancer. I heard about it because my friend last year was participating. I wasn't really sure what it was for but I knew she was doing it. I did some research this fall and realized, there is nothing I want more than to participate in this after school ends. This incorporates so many elements of my life that I love and elements that are very important to me. Service is something I have been very involved in since high school. It's something to me that is so addicting. Working out is the same way. These two aspects of my life are huge. I walk into a service experience or workout with a goal in mind, whether it is just to make someone feeling down in the dumps smile or whether it is to push myself physically just a little bit more than yesterday. When you finish either of these experiences you walk away feeling one of two things A) you experience a feeling that is so strong an so happy it is almost like a high because you achieved the goals you wanted to or B) you goal wasn't achieved but because of that it makes you want it more. It keeps you driven. On top of this, I love travelling, when I went abroad for the entirety of my junior year, I became absolutely addicted. I explored so much of Europe and I want to do the same in the US. I am from Maine and I am in love with it and all of the outdoor aspects of it. I love camping, the green trees, and most of all the mountains. The map for all three of these journeys incorporate so many different scenery heavy places that I have been dying to see. Finally, cancer is such a prominent disease and affects so many people including many people of whom I am close with. Because this project is so big and fundraising heavy we can reach out and spend time with so many different people. The fact that the 4k incorporates all of these elements leads me to believe that this could be the most life changing experience I may ever have the opportunity to participate in.