Every year we ask our participants to think about their reason they signed up to bike across America, their motivation, or as some may call it – their “why” – the fuel that gets them over the hills, through the windy and long plateaus, out on raining mornings and persistent during scorching afternoons.
While each photo doesn’t give a complete picture of that team, nor does each person’s post give a comprehensive summary of that person and their why, this begins to show the varying perspectives and personalities that come from our many 4Kers, when asked the question “Why do you ride?”
Our hope in sharing these are for others to more deeply understand the diverse ways that cancer has impacted each 4K team and every single one of our 4Kers. We hope it serves as a reminder that although cancer can and will pervade lives in a multitude of ways, our response and the collected reaction can be unified and stronger when we work together.
Cancer changes lives. So do we.
“I did this summer because I wanted to experience more than a “normal” internship. I rode for my aunt and a childhood friend.
“I ride in memory of my wonderful mom who I unfortunately lost to Lymphoma in the fall of 2016. I ride to spread awareness and to remind everyone who has in one way or another been touched by cancer that they are never alone. We are strong but together we are stronger!”
“There are a few people specifically who I wanted to ride to: my dad who passed away from pancreatic cancer when I was 11, my grandparents who are still with me but both battling various cancers, and someone who was like a second mom to me growing up, Lisa, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Other than those special few, I am also riding for all those who can’t. From people I have met in my life, to people I will meet in the future, to everyone I know who has someone in their life affected by this terrible disease — this ride was for all of them.”
“Nothing is Impossible”
“All four of my grandparents had cancer at some point, three of the four having lost their lives to it. Two, I never had a chance to meet, and one I lost earlier this year. Cancer has personally impacted not only me, but my friends, family, coworkers and many, many other people as well. This is why I’m riding–to show compassion, solidarity, and strength in the face of something terrible.”
“I wouldn’t have had the courage to fight my four year battle with Leukemia, without the stories of patients who showed me that things get better, one day at a time. I want to pay it forward and help my peers focus on the silver lining – whether they have a hip replacement, like me, had to give up a sport/hobby due to chemotherapy, or are struggling to come to terms with their diagnosis. 4K for cancer was the first time I met people my age dealing with cancer, and it provided me with a support community I didn’t know I needed.”
“I rode to raise awareness for those who would not be able to ride. I also rode to prove to others that if you put your mind to something, no one can stop you from accomplishing that goal.”
“I ride in honor of My Dad. I also ride to inspire others to continue pushing through whatever life throws at them.”
“We ride for our families, our friends, and every person ever affected by cancer. We ride to unite, spread positivity, awareness, and love. Finally, we ride for ourselves. To see the world, to have new experiences, to learn, and to become better people!”
“I had always wanted to cycle cross country to see the beautiful country. What I didn’t expect was how amazing the people across the country were going to be. I did it for my late Great Uncle Dave and my good friend, Coleman.”
“I ride for my father who passed from cancer and for the young adults who have struggled through college while facing a cancer diagnosis.”
“I ride for two of my sister’s friends who both passed away from cancer at a young age. Seeing how much of a positive impact they had on the world and also how it affected my sister made me inspired to get more involved in the cancer community and show my support.”
“It’s always been a dream of mine to bike across the United States. Until recently, it seemed like a pipe dream, reserved for those few who can do the extraordinary. Now, though, I realize that if I am committed, I can do anything I put my mind to. It’s my mission to spread that message to everyone I can, especially those who need it most.”
“The loss of my uncle has inspired me to ride to raise awareness and provide support for the people who are battling cancer or have lost their loved ones to cancer. I want to challenge myself to make an impact on the young adult cancer community by spreading love, support, and positivity.”
“I riding this summer for my mom and grandparents who have beaten cancer, my great-grandpa who passed away from leukemia, and my great-uncle Bob who is currently battling Stage IV cancer. My favorite part of the trip has been meeting random people in gas stations and parking lots who share their stories and tell us how cancer has impacted their lives.”
“I am riding to support those who fight and those whose lives have been torn apart by cancer. I’ve seen the devastating affects of cancer and I want to help make sure that no one ever has to face cancer alone. I want to inspire hope and be inspired by others on this journey.”
“I ride for my grandma who passed away from skin and brain cancer. I saw her go through the stages until her passing away, and never got to say goodbye. I dedicated most of my miles for her and her legacy.”
“I ride to get the chance to see and connect with 70 different communities while challenging myself physically and emotionally. I ride to spread awareness to others of vastly different backgrounds, and by spreading that awareness, to unite those supporting UCF and young adults with cancer.”
“I ride for my grandparents. Three of them were effected by cancer in their lives, and all four of their giving spirits inspired me to give back to the cancer community in the way I best know how. My grandparents would appreciate that I ride for them, for the cancer community, and also for myself!”
“I’m riding for my mom who battled Stage 1 Thyroid Cancer and uncle who battle Stage 4 Mesothelioma twice. Also for all of those who are aren’t able to do much physical activity because of a disease or event. To inspire them to keep pushing forward and make the best of what they have.”
“For my grandma who died from lung cancer. My grandfather who died from cancer and my grandma suppa who beat colon cancer. Also, for every person who shared their story with me along this journey.”
“My ‘why’ has constantly evolved throughout the trip and thereon. But I ride to demonstrate that a collection of young strangers as a team, a family, and conquer a challenge through supporting and serving one another. And we ride to spread hope that we as a larger community can tackle the seemingly formidable challenges that cancer brings.”
“Everyday my “why” grows— you come into this journey riding for a few people very close to you, slowly you collect strangers’ stories, and suddenly you’re riding for an army of soldiers. And that’s the beauty of it all, no one’s fighting alone.”