PAINESVILLE, Ohio—Lake Erie College cross country runner Gina Henley will run across the country this summer in an effort to raise money for patients and their loved ones affected by cancer through 4k For Cancer.
The trip will start in San Francisco on June 19th and will end in Baltimore on August 6th. In all, the trip will last 49 days and in that time, runners will be on the road for over 4,000 miles.
"I decided to participate in the 4K for cancer run because it combines doing something I love, running, with supporting a great cause," said Henley. "Running has always been a huge part of my life, but it means so much more knowing that I'm doing it for a meaningful purpose. I also love to travel, and this is a great opportunity to see the country first hand. Because so many people are affected by cancer now-a-days, this is my way of helping others and making a difference."
On each of the running days, each runner will run between eight and 12 miles with a teammate.
"The 4k For Cancer emphasizes that the run is an experience rather than a race; therefore you don't have to be an elite athlete in order to participate," said Henley. "However, you have to be physically fit and be able to complete the mileage every day. I will be physically prepared for this because I already run almost every day due to being a member of the Lake Erie cross country and track teams."
The trip will also test the runners mentally as well as physically.
"Mentally, however, I have to train myself to keep a positive attitude no matter how hard things get; this way I will be able to be a positive influence on the people I meet throughout this journey," commented Henley. "I have to train myself to have a strong and motivated mentality under any circumstances, as this adventure will bring along many challenges that I will have to be ready to overcome."
"After reading blogs of people who have done this run in the past, I realize how many emotional, physical and mental challenges I will face as I partake in this journey," continued Henley. "To me, the biggest challenge will be the emotional roller coaster that comes with leaving home for 49 days, dealing with unfamiliar surroundings and people, working with cancer patients and witnessing their suffering, and trying to stay strong for the patients that I meet."
Along the way, the team will be stopping in communities to help with activities to support cancer patients and their families.
"Throughout this journey, we will be participating in many community activities in order to directly help individuals and families affected by cancer," continued Henley. "These activities include visiting cancer patients, taking part in community dinners and giving cancer awareness presentations. Cancer affects almost everyone in one way or another throughout their lives, so I am proud to be a part of this amazing organization and excited to have the opportunity to help those impacted by cancer."
If you are interested in supporting, there are a couple ways to do so.
"The best way to help and support this organization is to donate to the 4k for Cancer Fund, which goes directly to the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. During the run, I will be posting blogs to http://4kforcancer.org/profiles/gina-henley/ which people can stay updated on if they are interested in hearing more about how the adventure goes!"