Hey there – Stephen Barr here. Villanova grad and 4K for Cancer Team Seattle 2018 alum.
Are you curious how to have the BEST summer of your life? Interested in biking across the country? Want to find a new way to make a difference?
Well… here’s how I did all of that, and more, last summer through biking across America with 4K for Cancer.
How It All Started.
I heard about the 4K through a friend (4K Team Seattle ’17 Alum) who explained the trip as the ‘best summer of his life.’ I was intrigued but hesitant to apply. Spending my summer with a group of young adults cycling across the country to raise money and awareness for Ulman Foundation seemed incredible but – I’m not the most adventurous type, and I didn’t even own a bike.
However I had a strong connection to the cancer community, especially the young adult cancer community. And after I hear Ulman Foundation’s mission –
“we change lives by creating a community of support for young adults, and their loves ones, impacted by cancer”
I was hooked.
Finding Your Why.
On the 4K, we share our why – our reason for riding – with each other every morning during the team’s dedication circle. Each day of my 4K journey was dedicated to Drew O’Donoghue and Andrew Accardi. Two Villanova students and SigEp brothers that lost their battle with cancer while attending Villanova. It was an honor and a privilege to ride across the country in their memory.
Everyone is touched by cancer in some way throughout their life. I believe it’s important that we do what we can to ensure that no one has to face cancer alone. Whether that’s biking across America or simply sending support their way. Our dedications were another different, but meaningful, way to send support to those impacted by cancer – whether they were close loved ones or complete strangers.
Supporting The Mission.
Your 4K journey starts as soon as you pick a team! In the months leading up to send-off you’re fundraising and spreading the word on Ulman’s mission. You get to connect with the 4K staff and your 4K alum mentor to learn creative ideas for fundraising, how to host a bone marrow drive, tips for training, and a few other things!
Our fundraising efforts go towards supporting the many services Ulman provides – Patient Navigation, Ulman House, and even a national scholarship program – two of which you hand out during your 4K trip! We each raised a minimum of $4,500 for the cause, and together the 2018 teams raised over $900,000 for the young adult cancer cause.
In addition to fundraising before your trip, your impact continues throughout the ride. Along the way your team has service events at cancer centers, hospital, hospitality homes, and more. These events give you the opportunity to learn more about the cause, but also to engage, in person, with patients, families, communities, and clinical teams all impacted, in some way, by cancer.
What You Get.
The 4K for Cancer teaches you a lot about yourself, your life, and the world around you – many of which you don’t expect. For me, my next goal after 4K is to attend medical or professional school. I didn’t sign up for 4K to necessarily prepare me for my next step in life, but it was an added bonus that I’m thankful for.
When biking across the country you have plenty of opportunities to gain critical thinking, service, teamwork, and leadership experience. It also helped me develop many
personal characteristics such as, resiliency, empathy, awareness, and more.I also gained a whole new perspective on the state of healthcare throughout the nation. I witnessed the severity of the physician shortage in rural America and the disparities of healthcare seen in urban areas.
I returned from the 4K with a new energy and sense of purpose to ignite the change in the world of healthcare. The 4K redefined my understanding of living life to the fullest.
I promise. It’s worth it.
-Stephen Barr, Team Seattle 2018