Student Participates in 4k for Cancer
While many students spend their summers as interns in their field of interest,
Chelsea DeBernardis decided to spend hers biking —across the United States.
A junior at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland,
she is participating in the 4k for Cancer bike ride, during which she’ll spend 70
days riding more than 4,000 miles from Baltimore, Md., to Seattle, Wash.
“I'm riding with 26 other college-aged students from all over: Ohio, Florida,
California, Washington, Oklahoma, New York, Pennsylvania, and even Colombia! We
all clicked instantly and get along so well — they're like my family,” she said.
Each day, the students wake up and ride an average of 70 miles, DeBernardis explains.
“Some days [we ride] as low as in the 40s, some over 100. We ride through rain,
wind and heat over 100 degrees, just not thunder and lighting.”
When they aren’t riding, the students are participating in community service-oriented
projects across the nation.
DeBernardis originally heard about the 4k for Cancer ride from a friend who had
applied: “It sounded like such a fun and special opportunity to see the country
and stay in shape this summer. I've always found volunteer work fulfilling, but
in the beginning, the community service was just a perk. It wasn't the thing pushing
me to apply to be a 4k rider.”
After spending several hours reading through the ride’s website [4kforcancer.org],
learning about its mission and history, reading over rider profiles, and checking
out pictures from previous summers, DeBernardis became really interested in participating.
“Reading the stories about how cancer has affected the lives of the other 2012
riders was enough to motivate me to apply. I knew that some of my older family members
had struggled with cancer in the past, but I was so young when they were diagnosed,
and I've never thought to ask my parents the details,” she said. “When my parents
and I got to talking, I learned that cancer has affected my family in more ways
than I thought. Cancer is a horrible part of this world, but I believe that through
the worst in things, we see the best in people. I am honored to be a part of the
4k Seattle team.”
According to her blog, which she updates during her ride, DeBernardis is riding
specifically for her maternal grandfather, who had colon cancer and passed away;
her paternal grandmother, who had lung cancer and passed away; her paternal grandfather,
who has bladder cancer and still manages to go bowling every week; her Great Uncle
Carroll, who is struggling with lung cancer; her Godmother and Aunt Chris, a breast
cancer survivor; her Aunt Susann, a breast cancer survivor; and her Aunt Carol Jean,
who passed away in September shortly after being diagnosed with liver cancer.
as she finishes her journey biking across the nation.
About the Robert H. Smith School of Business
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader
in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the
University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate,
full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, MS in business, PhD and executive
education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The
school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning
locations in North America and Asia.