Vince is a junior at Niagara University, in Niagara Falls, NY. 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?
Cancer is no stranger at all to my life. After losing two of my grandparents to lung cancer, I had already associated cancer with tragedy since an extremely young age. To lose what my parents say were “the biggest hearted individuals one could meet” leaves me no choice whatsoever except to charge full speed ahead against cancer by giving whatever efforts I can. I actively took part in fundraisers such as the “Relay for Life” throughout my college career to do my part in the fight against cancer. Unfortunately, that effort couldn’t stop the bad news that was about to strike my family. Several years ago, that news was that my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer. Thankfully, after much courage and devotion to conquering it, my aunt was able to declare herself a survivor and has been cancer-free ever since. The pain one feels when they receive the news that a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer makes time stop. It strikes you so powerfully, and you want to do anything and everything to save that person from losing the tough battle to cancer. I learned quickly that my aunt was one of the lucky ones to escape cancer’s grasp; however, I also learned that unfortunately this is not the norm for society.
Why are you riding the 4K for Cancer?
4K provides stands for a unique kind of inspiration for those affected by cancer. I want to be a part of that new hope, a part of the community that doesn’t back down when the going gets rough. I want to become part of a team that fights the evil that is cancer. Ultimately, I want to stand for my family, my friends, and my community as a warrior against cancer. 4K would give me that opportunity. I physically have never been in touch with cancer. I don’t know the physical pains of it, nor do I know the true essence of pushing my effort beyond my limits. I believe that 4K will provide me the experience to physically do so. I also understand that the physical feat of biking across the country is a harsh demand on the body—but to be a part of a community that works together, just as the cancer community works together to fight their illness, would give me the empathetic feel I need in order to understand the theme of perseverance through unity. I believe that it is only this type of journey that can tell the story of cancer and its effects on society. I firmly feel that by meeting different types of people and hearing their stories, I can go back to my hometown and share the stories of the unheard voices. There are so many suffering in this world because of cancer and I want to provide everything that I can to the best of my ability. This trip would bring out the best in me—this is so important because my passion is contagious. When I have a strong interest in something I believe should be well-known, I spread the news and increase awareness. My outgoing personality and desire to improve this world, combined with the motivation to help the 4K and the entire cancer communities of this nation, are ultimately my purpose for taking part in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.