Sophie is a sophomore at the University of Maryland, College Park. 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.
What is your connection with the cancer community?
Like many others, I have friends and family who have been affected by cancer. My closest experience with cancer began last fall, when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. It came as a complete shock. My mother has no family history of breast cancer. She is active, healthy, and has adopted a healthy diet for many years. But no matter how carefully a person takes care of their body, no one is immune to getting cancer. Before my mom’s cancer, I never fully comprehended just how scary cancer is. I thought cancer was something awful and sad, but never thought about how someone might feel when faced with cancer. When my mom first told me that she might have cancer, she was terrified. She saw cancer as losing control of her body. People with cancer often have no choice but to undergo invasive and taxing treatment to fight it. They also have to make tough decisions regarding treatment while juggling medical bills, family, and the physical and emotional detriments of the disease. My mom bravely pulled through and is currently recovering, in remission. Although cancer is a reminder of how fragile humans are, it can also show how strong and brave people can be.
Why are you riding the 4K for Cancer?
My mom had her mastectomy the day before Thanksgiving. While in the hospital waiting room, I realized that I had a lot to be thankful for that holiday. My mom’s cancer was treatable and detected in the early stages. My mom has medical insurance and she was receiving treatment from one of the best hospitals in the nation. Unfortunately not everyone with cancer is in the same situation. There is still much improvement to be made in terms of cancer treatment, research, and emphasis on early detection. I believe one of the biggest contributions I can make to the fight against cancer is to spread the word and initiate action against cancer. Traveling across the United States on a bike, among people with many different experiences with cancer is an amazing opportunity to do just that.