Benefit Cancer Charity
Twenty-three students from The Johns Hopkins University and friends from other schools will bicycle from Baltimore to San Francisco this summer, hoping to raise $60,000 for the American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge, a residence for out-of-town cancer patients seeking treatment at Baltimore hospitals.
The fourth annual Hopkins 4K for Cancer begins at 8 a.m. on Sunday, May 29, with an hour-long kickoff event on the steps of Shriver Hall on the Homewood campus, 3400 N. Charles St. in Baltimore. Hopkins 4K's student directors Franca Kraenzlin and Travis Snow; an oncologist; and Karen Seaberry, director of Hope Lodge; will speak before the students depart campus. The students anticipate crossing the finish line, at the Golden Gate Bridge, on Sunday, July 31.
The best opportunity for press coverage will be at 9 a.m. on Sunday, May 29, when the students will be dipping their bike tires in the harbor directly in front of Harbor Place at the corner of Light and Pratt streets. Members of the media are welcome to attend the event to interview students.
Snow, a graduating senior from New Hartford, Conn., has first-hand experience with the caring staff at Hope Lodge.
"Earlier this spring, while I was doing a medical examination to go into the Peace Corps, my doctor discovered a small mole on my back which turned out to be a melanoma," said Snow, 21, who will receive his bachelor's degree in international studies on May 26. "Fortunately it was a model case of early detection — I had it removed last month, and ironically was able to stay in Hope Lodge for several nights with my mom during my surgery, which was incredibly vindicating of our efforts there."
Test results showed that Snow's cancer hadn't spread, so he is able to go ahead with this summer's trip and his third year as a trip leader. He was originally drawn to Hopkins 4K as a way to honor his mother, Gayle, a breast cancer survivor. His grandfather also had cancer and died last fall as a result.
Snow and his fellow Johns Hopkins students will be joined by three friends from other colleges and universities, including a student from the University of Maryland. The ticket to ride is $3,000, which each of the students raised by soliciting donations. The money will be used to sustain the students throughout the trip, but will primarily be put toward their gift to Hope Lodge. While cycling 4,000 miles to raise money and promote a healthy lifestyle, the students will also stop in several big cities and small towns for service projects, volunteering their youthful energy to local community groups in honor of their friends and loved ones affected by the disease.
The first three Hopkins 4K rides across the country raised $160,000 for the American Cancer Society. As they were last year, the funds raised by the 2005 ride are earmarked for Hope Lodge. Students have spent a great deal of time this academic year at Hope Lodge, 636 W. Lexington St. in Baltimore, gathering inspiration for their journey through weekly visits with the residents. Students also helped out with chores, like putting up and taking down Christmas trees and setting up new furniture, and dedicated $20,000 from the 2003 trip to renovating and adding computers to the Hope Lodge library. The students will have a dinner with their friends at Hope Lodge on the eve of their departure.
"You would think dedicating their entire summer bike riding across country, raising money for cancer, would be enough for this incredible group of students," Seaberry said. "But these awesome young adults volunteer three to four times per month at the Hope Lodge, leaving a memorable legacy and impacting lives every time they visit. They inspire patients, encourage the caregivers and embrace the staff. I am very honored to have met each and every student. This amazing group sets examples we all should follow."
While furthering its mission to unite communities across the country in the fight against cancer by spreading awareness, raising funds and fostering hope, Hopkins 4K has been recognized with several awards. During their first year, the trip was named the American Cancer Society's "Special Event of the Year." The students were also presented with the ACS's inaugural Pioneer Award, an honor specially created for their "innovative, creative, and trail blazing efforts in the fight against cancer." In 2003, the students received the "Outstanding Youths in Philanthropy Award" from the Maryland chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals as well as the Excalibur Award from the ACS for exceptional dedication to the fight against cancer.
For information, contact Amy Cowles at 443-287-9960. For more information about Hope Lodge, contact Karen Seaberry at (410) 547-2522. Visit Hope Lodge online by searching www.cancer.org/. Hopkins 4K for Cancer is online at www.hopkins4k.org/.
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