Why They Ride Across The Country

Weather and too much work kept me from attending this year’s visit by the 4K for Cancer riders. Steve Marquardt, a cyclist and Lake Lillian residen, attended the event and wrote this report.

4K for Cancer riders from a previous year arrive July 2, 2013, at Lake Lillian where they spent the night in the town's former school after sharing a pot luck supper with area residents who brought the food. The riders are college-age and pedaling from Baltimore to Seattle to raise money for cancer research.
4K for Cancer riders from a previous year arrive July 2, 2013, at Lake Lillian where they spent the night in the town’s former school after sharing a pot luck supper with area residents who brought the food. The riders are college-age and pedaling from Baltimore to Seattle to raise money for cancer research.

There were fewer than two dozen cyclists riding into Lake Lillian for this year’s 4K for Cancer. All of them arrived in vans when, after about 60 miles of cycling out of Minneapolis, the skies opened up and dumped on them near Hutchinson. In the rain, bikes (front wheels removed) had to be loaded atop the support vans.
They were late arriving at Lake Lillian’s former school that owners Lowell and Jean Petterson opened for them. By about 6:30 p.m. they were all in the building.
There was potluck food enough for everyone.
It continued to pour down rain throughout the meal, creating a din on the tin roof of the lobby, but the cyclists in the gym were all smiles once they dried off and changed –- or merely dried off.
After the meal, cyclists offered testimonies about for whom or why they were biking. Here’s how some in the group explained their participation:
Rachael Harkins is riding for an uncle who raised her. He was diagnosed with cancer when she was younger.
Kelly Berkemeier’s grandmother passed away from cancer.
Mia Dohrmann’s aunt is a survivor.
Chris Tortorici’s grandmother and great aunt both passed away from cancer.
Leslie Leong had an uncle who died of liver cancer less than four weeks after being diagnosed. Also several friends of hers and her uncle’s have experienced cancer.
Kate Wilcox had a friend who developed leukemia at age 8 and died at age 10 after two years of therapy.
Elizabeth Youlio’s grandfather died of colon cancer.
Joshua Valdivia-McDonald rode last year also, and rides this year for a fraternity brother diagnosed with leukemia.
Ben Seigel biked five years ago and is close to the age limit for the ride. He lost a high school friend to eye cancer.
After the testimonials and the clean-up, the rain had stopped and bright sky appeared in the west.