Grad Bikes Cross-Country for Cancer Awareness
After graduation, many in the Class of 2011 celebrated. Nate Wineland ’11 chose to donate—time, energy, money and sweat, as he embarked on a cross-country biking trip with the nonprofit organization 4K for Cancer. In Baltimore on May 29, Wineland began a 4,000-mile trek to Portland, scheduled to last 60 days. He was excited about biking cross-country but more thrilled to be raising cancer awareness.
Riders followed the motto “Cycle. Inspire. Unite.” Rather than speeding through towns, they visited with cancer patients, held cancer screenings and gave educational presentations. Money raised by 4K for Cancer assists other organizations working to fight the disease, particularly organizations with proven track records that fit 4K for Cancer’s community emphasis.
Wineland started making connections with cancer victims as he fundraised for the trip. Whenever someone contributed to his $4,500 goal, he asked whether anyone in the donor’s life suffered from cancer. Then Wineland offered to dedicate a part of his trip to that person. “It continues to make me feel good that I am doing something about it,” he says of those individuals’ stories.
Personally, Wineland has been affected by a neighbor’s passing from cancer, his grandmother’s early stages of blood cancer and the struggle of his track coach, Marty Owens.
“I wanted to show Marty my support for his battle with cancer, and knowing that he loves riding bikes so much, I thought it was a great idea.”
“I am quite honored,” says Owens. “As a coach, sometimes I get surprised how much of an impact we have on the lives of our student-athletes.” Leading up to the trip, he and Wineland often discussed the latter’s training, and the pair went on rides together in the spring.
Wineland anticipated how challenging the journey would be, particularly in the Rocky Mountains, but he still looked forward to the biking, sightseeing and social aspects of the trip. Most of all, though, he knew this: “The most rewarding thing will be the stories I hear from the cancer patients that I meet, and being able to learn from them and let them know we are out there supporting them and keeping them in our thoughts.”
Contributing writers to the People & Places section are Charlotte Lotz ‘12, Megan McDermott ‘14, Betsy K. Robertson and Karen M. Jones, assistant director of media relations.