Junior Justin Strathe will be busy this summer, but not with an internship or a job. Starthe will be biking over 4,000 miles in order to raise money, and awareness, for cancer.
During an intense 70-day, nonstop journey from Baltimore to Portland, Justin, who will be representing TU, will ride with a team of twenty-three other college students to support college-age students fighting through cancer.
The trip, called 4kForCancer, has been hosted every year since 2001 by the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, a nonprofit organization with a mission of helping young cancer patients by giving them the tools they need to fight their disease and embrace survivorship.
Last year alone, over 170 4k participants raised over 1 million dollars for the Ulman Cancer Fund. Strathe’s team alone has raised over 90,000 dollars.
“My goal is to raise $4500. I’m about fifty percent of the way right now, which is good because I have about three months left.”
For Strathe, however, raising money is not the only concern.
He said, “I want to provide hope for the cancer community. Hope for a cure. Hope for victory in the fight. I want my ride to be an inspiration to patients and families, letting them know that they are not fighting their fight alone.”
This comes from personal experience, because Starthe himself has a few connections to the cancer community. “Recently my grandfather, who was really the first person that I was close with, was diagnosed with leukemia. And earlier in this semester one of my fraternity brothers was also diagnosed with leukemia, and he’s going through chemo right now. So, I’ll have those two on my mind a lot during the trip. But I’m also not doing it only for them. I’m doing it for anyone affected by cancer.”
In order to prepare for the grueling journey ahead, Strathe has been training intensively. “I started a 20-week training program a few weeks ago to get me in shape. I actually didn’t start cycling until last year, when I heard about the program from my friend, Hannah, while I was studying abroad in Australia.”
About the ride itself, he commented, “The whole trip is 70 days. We will bike around 70-120 miles a day. And we have 9 rest days in that 70 days, so that’s 5 or 6 days a week we’re out on the bikes all day.”
“I’m a little nervous,” Strathe admitted. “I’m fairly new to cycling and I don’t know anyone who’s on this trip with me.”
Despite his apprehension, the appeal of the trip was enough to convince him to go. Aside from raising awareness for cancer, Strathe says that 4kForCancer will allow him travel opportunities like never before.
“I’d say I have a strong sense of travel and adventure, and it seems like a really great way to see the United States while also doing something for a good cause.”
Students who are interested and able in helping Strathe out with his cause can donate to his personal page at 4kforcancer.org. All donations go to the Ulman Cancer Fund.