Hopkins 4K for Cancer

The mission of Hopkins 4K for Cancer is to unite communities across the country in the fight against cancer by spreading awareness, raising funds, and fostering hope.


July 9, 2007

by Alice Li
Today I am reminded of why I am here. We have come to the end of the 2nd leg and had our pow wow to prep us for the coming 3rd leg, the most challenging part of this trip. We all talked about refocusing and remembering the mission. We realized that somehow the Hopkins4K has become complacent. We have started to take for granted that we ride everyday. We have become stagnant in our motivation to ride – it has become a chore to finish everyday instead of a privilege.

And so, Olympia began our morning dedication with a story from Harper’s Weekly about the 5K, the cancer ward of a hospital. The article was written by a nurse who worked there day in day out. She wrote about her observations of her patients. She wrote about the patients who just got there and the ones who have been there for a while – the ones who read the motivational messages on the walls of the hallways and the ones who don’t anymore. Whether they were rich like the lawyer who ordered delivery every night or poor like the paperless worker who barely spoke English, everyone there at the 5K was touched by the same thing – the same thing my life was touched by. The thing that took away the first person in my life that I was sure that I loved, my grandpa. I had forgotten what it was like when he lied there in his hospital bed, knowing the inevitable, but still wanting to believe. I think if he had the strength to work around, he would’ve read the messages on the walls just as he listened to the obvious lies our family and the doctors fed him. No one had the courage to tell him that his chemo didn’t work, but he knew better. He let us play pretend sometimes I think for our own sakes.

I had forgotten how surreal it felt to watch someone ebb away. I forgot how delusional I could be when I vainly tried to convince myself that somehow the cursed blood cells would somehow be defeated by the remaining good blood cells, I forgot how frazzled I can be and how fake my smiles can get. And how strong my grandpa was. In those last days, he took every waking moment he had to share what life has taught him – hoping that I would learn from his lessons. I probably didn’t learn much. I probably didn’t grow to be the better person he wished I were. I probably didn’t make fewer mistakes like he hoped I would. And in riding on the 4K, in this attempt to add a little more depth into my life, I almost forgot the point…So I want to thank you Olympia in this entry for bringing me home. Because I almost did forget why I am doing this. And I almost forgot why I cared so much. And, finally, for reminding me how weak I still am compared to my grandpa – who has and always will be one of the strongest and gentlest people in my life.

(I know I didn’t add anything about my actual riding day, but I wanted to write about what was the most important thing that happened to me – and this morning dedication was it)