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This June, we had two ambassadors embark on similar quests - to cross the United States on their own power, as part of a fundraiser called 4K for Cancer:
About 4K for Cancer: The 4K is a program that encourages young adults to travel across the country to inspire and unite communities affected by cancer. Our riders and runners have chosen to dedicate their summers to cycling and running from coast to coast, over 4,000 miles. This dedication does not come without its challenges. Riders tackle 50-120 miles per day, while runners cover 10-16 miles per day. Our participants ensure these miles count by dedicating them to others impacted by cancer and writing the dedications on the back of their legs, to draw strength from daily.
Suzie set off on bike at the beginning of June, beginning on the east coast and headed west. Anna set off a few weeks later, on foot, from California. Watching the journeys of both of these young women has been nothing short of inspiring.
"As my teammates waved goodbye to their family and friends, I told myself that everyone was right, not only did I need a break but I had made a commitment to all of the donors, to my teammates, to those whose lives have been affected by cancer and to myself! There was no turning back now. As we made our way to the Golden Gate Bridge, I gave myself a lecture - "be positive Anna, put a smile on your face and make the most of this experience regardless of the circumstances." That first night we arrived at a small church in Vacaville, California to a table full of food and several smiling, welcoming faces. These were the moments I was looking forward to: interacting with the community. To hear their stories was inspiring and a great reminder of why I signed up to run in the first place!
A few days later, I found myself climbing the Sierras - a task that is just as daunting as it sounds! This experience was humbling to say the least but we made it! Every time I wanted to give up, I looked down at my arm where I had written "Nana, I love you." I thought about the strong woman my grandmother was and the reason I was there and continued climbing. That day was another opportunity to reflect on what I was doing and why: I have an abled body and the physical fitness to be able to do this, I should consider myself lucky to be able to do something like this for such a great cause!"
"Giving back is very important to me. I also grow so much on journeys such as this... I was super down and I woke up one morning thinking, this is the best and most effective way to change my mindset, change my situation.
In the past 15 days, I have 23 new family members that I call teammates, countless new family members through hosts (Emerson fam, I'm looking at you), and even through alums that have reached out and become part of our team.
I feel so fortunate to be alive and to be well."