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.


June 21, 2007

by Drew Haberkorn
Some people say that you learn something new everyday - today the 4k learned that Nebraska is NOT flat. It only took 0.7 miles to realize that it was going to be a difficult day in the saddle. We had just left Fairbury with full stomachs when Rob managed to get a flat tire in the middle of (what seemed to be) our only decent of the day. After Rob changed his tire we began our difficult uphill trek to Franklin. The day was made more difficult due to the strong crosswinds coming from the southwest. To give you an idea of what cycling in a crosswind is like, just imagine driving a car with the wheels out of alignment. It is a constant battle between the driver and the pull of the wheel to keep a true course. In our case it is a battle between the rider and the handlebars to just stay on the road. But as weíve said before, a 4ker must peddle on.

We were able to get out of the wind for lunch when Dewey found a Nebraska oasis on a ranch house in the middle of the cornfields. With the wind blocked by trees we enjoyed our food donated from Dairy Queen and Pizza Hut, as well as the leftovers from the dinner the previous night. Refueled, we hit the road and battled the winds once again. We got to our final water stop and decided that we had time to take a ten-minute break; an hour and a half later we woke up realizing that ten minutes was not nearly long enough. We jumped back on our bikes and pedaled our way into the small town of Franklin.

We were happily greeted at the doors of the Franklin United Methodist Church. The local high school was kind enough to let us use their facilities for showers as well as dinner. The Franklin community came out in full force to show their support for the 4k. They fed us an amazing dinner and shared even more amazing stories. I have to say that hearing stories of people that have overcome cancer has always moved me, but tonight I heard a story that will forever remind me why I am doing this ride.

A man stood up and began to tell us the story of his son. When his boy was young he was diagnosed with cancer and the doctors told the parents he had 3 days to live. Listening to the story, I instantly had cold chills run through my body. I canít imagine what the family felt when they received the horrible news. With no other choice the young boy began treatments the next day. With the doctorís timeline in mind, the first day passed, then the second, the third, and so on. With an amazingly strong will, the boy was able to battle through the disease and is living cancer free today. He is 16 years old now and runs the 400m for his high school track team.

It is stories like this that make me realize that the physical and mental challenges that cycling across the country places on a 4k rider is nothing compared to the challenges that the people with cancer and their friends and family go through. I feel like I have always known this, but our night in Franklin made it very real for me. I will never forget that manís story and the feeling it sparked in me for the rest of my life.