Peter is a junior at the Johns Hopkins 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?
I’m blessed to not have had any close friends or family members affected by cancer, but I know there’s no guarantee it’ll stay this way. As a student in environmental engineering, I’m constantly reminded of the barrage of cancer-inducing junk floating about in our world. And the worst part? Our most stringent contaminant regulations still allow one in one million people to develop cancer. It’s not without its reasons, but it still leaves you feeling helpless – especially if that one in one million happens to be someone dear to you. But we can change that. I want to lend a hand – and the other hand, and a mind, and a pair of legs – because I have the energy and fortune of not having had my optimism tainted. I still believe it’s possible, and certainly well-deserved, for anyone to live out their life without anything terrible happening to either themselves or their close ones. Although I may not have a sad story to tell, I know the same isn’t true for everyone. My motivation is to give them the happy plot twist that they deserve.
Why are you riding the 4K for Cancer?
We live in a vast world, but many of us end up spending most of our lives among just a few places. I yearn to see more of what’s out there, and not just through the windows of a car or plane. I want to be there, to take in the environment, the people, the culture – to truly connect. And there’s plenty worth being there in person for. Our planet is full of natural beauty, and North America, with its grassy plains, snowy mountains, majestic rivers (all of which deserve more than just single adjectives) is no exception. Then there’s the people. I adore people. Maybe not when they’re in huge crowds trampling over aisles during Black Friday, but certainly the other 99% of the time when they’re just being themselves. Since the first grade I’ve been moving around from school district to school district, and what I remember most about each new place are the people. Similar people, different people. People young and old. People that introduce you to activities and places you’d never dare explore yourself. People that can unleash a storm of swear words but still stop to offer help when something seems wrong. They’ve all opened my eyes to the world and taught me more than a few things about myself. The best part? There are so many more of them out there to meet and befriend. Even now I’m still seeing the world through slits (and not just because I’m Asian), but I’m eager to fix that. I dedicate my ride to all the people and places worth fighting for. Yes, that ends up being a lot. But I’ve got lots to give.