My I4k Trip so far

Wow. Ok, shame on me for taking so long to blog. Where do I begin?! This trip has been one of the most amazing and challenging things I have ever done (I’m sure all other I4kers feel the same). It is crazy to see how far we have all come. I remember being in New York City the day before the trip thinking, “Wow, is this really happening?!” And sure enough, it did. 28 excited and anxious cyclists began an unforgettable journey May 25th, 2010.

Each and every day has been a day to remember. There have been physical challenges; not only just the fact that we bike an average of 80 miles a day, but also things such as crossing the Appalachian Mountains, getting through hilly PA, biking over 100 miles in one day, biking through different weather conditions, and biking through the Badlands, the Black Hills, Mt Rushmore, and the Big Horn Mountain. There have been emotional challenges, such as being away from home, family and friends for a whole summer, sleeping on the floor every night, sleeping in a different place every night, and sometimes feeling like you cannot go on (more in the beginning of the trip). AND, most importantly, there have been many countless amazing moments of each and every day, which totally outweigh the challenges and make this trip the most wonderful time of our lives.

Throughout this trip, I have had the opportunity to not only get to know 27 strangers, but I have also had the opportunity to meet many generous individuals across the United States, listen to many people share their stories about their cancer journey, tour several cancer centers, and see this country’s beauty. Every Portraits interview I’ve been able to sit in on has been absolutely touching. I admire the courage of those who share their stories with us, as I can only imagine it can be very emotional and scary to relive the experience. Listening to the stories of those who have been affected by cancer has been one of my favorite and most memorable parts of this trip. Between the things that have been said and the emotions that have been displayed during these interviews, I will forever be touched.

Just the same with the cancer centers. Touring the cancer centers has been another favorite part of mine. They were very educational in the sense that I learned so much about different cancer treatments. It’s nice to have a better understanding of what chemotherapy is and does versus radiology and tomotherapy. I can now have a picture in my mind when someone speaks of their treatment experience, which makes me feel like I can connect better and be closer to the individual that is sharing his or her cancer experience.

I am so thankful for all of the generous people we have encountered on this trip; from churches and schools and rec centers letting us stay in their buildings and using their showers, to people cooking us delicious meals, to businesses/people donating food to us, to individuals willing to tell us their cancer story, and to individuals donating money to our cause. These places/people have helped us tremendously to fight against cancer. No matter where we are, there is always someone asking who we are and what we are doing. The expressions and support we get when we respond is unforgettable.

Now there is a little over 3 weeks left until we reach San Francisco. I don’t call it “the end” because frankly, the Illini 4000 and the individuals involved will never experience an “end” to doing what we do best; fighting cancer.  I am so unbelievably proud of everyone and their hard work to raise money, awareness, and continue biking each and every day. I am extremely thankful for all of our supporters, because without them, we would not have been able to get as far as we have come. So thank you everyone! And pray that we find a cure soon!

Comments (8)
  • Barbara Sullivan says:

    I am so proud of you and all the people in your group doing it with you. You are all strong and courageous. If we had so many more of the young people like you, what a world this could be.

    You are amazing…that is all I can say.

  • Sue Max says:

    Megan, you are truly amazing. We knew you were special the day you walked into our office. I’m so proud to know you. You are on your way to greatness. God Bless You!

  • donna kalis says:

    Dear Megan,
    Let me introduce myself…Donna Kalis/on the back of the t-shirt. I’m so blessed to have you and the team riding for this cause. Last July, I was told I had a stage 4 glioblastoma(GBM) brain tumor. God has amazingly taken me through surgery, rehab, radiation and chemotherapy with Temodar. My friend, Laurens’ Mom and so many throughout the country have been praying for me.
    For some reason, I am led to tell you that for my birthday, in July ( about 9 yrs. old), my Grandfather from OR sent me a two dollar bill. There were two causes I wanted to help…ACS and AHA..and now I could ( had never had more than maybe 50 cents prior). Anyway, finally got someone to exchange it for two singles…one went to heart disease and one to cancer donation. That was a great birthday, and so was last years…having the tumor removed (yes, on my birthday). What a gift to have it gone. This birthday will be great, too, with chemo, because for some reason I’m here to be able to have the chemo. Just want to glorify God each day, however He deems best. A big thank you to the whole team for building on that childhood birthday gift. Please share my thanks. Love, Donna

  • Tiffany Whalen says:

    Yay!! You blogged! Megan, I am so incredibly proud of you. I admire you and your strength. You are an inspiration to me! Thank you for doing this for those who are fighting and fought the cancer battle. I love you girl! Keep on going!

    -Tiffany!

  • Jill Canaday says:

    At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.Ӭ Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
    - Albert Schwietzer

    They are talking about you 28 dedicated young adults.
    We love you all.
    Jill & Kevin (Conor’s ob’s)

  • Ted Larsen says:

    Well look who’s on the blog. Well I’m glad all riders are doing well and building a life long experience. There are times I wish I could be right there to enjoy that experience,but Megan you are my experience. I know when you return home, the stories and pictures will be unreal. Being the fact you are my only daughter( daddy’s girl)you
    and fellow riders are AMERICA’S HEROS!98% professional athelets would never dream of doing this. We are all proud of you and the rest of the Heros of the team
    Love always
    Dad

  • Arezou Kashani says:

    Megan, you are so amazing for what you are doing. I am so proud of you and you should be proud of everything you have overcome. I cannot wait to see the pictures and hear all the wonderful stories about your trip.
    Keep on riding strong. You are almost there =)
    I agree with your dad, when he says you are all Heroes because that is totally true,
    Love you to pieces
    Zaza

  • Elizabeth Becker says:

    Hey Megan,

    Got a tissue? I just read your profile and it is soooo touching. You have an amazing heart.

    There are so many ways a college student can spend their summer vacation. I’m so proud of you for your choice to help others in the fight against cancer. It’s truly inspiring! The stories we’re blessed to hear through you are powerful.

    Thanks to each and everyone of you, for your intense physical and emotional contributions! God bless you as you continue your journey.

    Love,
    E

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