Riding to raise cancer awareness

For senior Chris Lipinski, the Johns Hopkins 4K bike race across the country is more than just a fundraiser – it’s a way of raising awareness of the trials that cancer patients have to face.

After losing his mother to a long battle with lung cancer, Lipinski decided to organize his own bike ride in order to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

“I didn’t want to have to suffer the loss without doing anything about it,” Lipinski said.

While he is the only GW student involved in the 4K, the race resonates with him because it was founded by college students.

“[4K for Cancer] originated from Johns Hopkins and 10 years ago, a group of college students who had been directly affected by cancer just decided to bike across the country,” Lipinski said.

The ride lasts for 68 days – Lipinski will act as a rider for the first two-thirds of the trip doing community service until it gets to the final leg, when he will be responsible for the logistics of the ride.

“We stop in small towns and provide cancer screenings for people, or we’ll talk with families or with cancer patients that are dealing with the harshest of cancers,” Lipinski said. “Another thing we just started doing is each rider will adopt three to five cancer patients and they’ll talk to them before, during and after the ride.”

As a leg leader for the final segment of the race, Lipinski has worked with his co-leader to schedule and coordinate the travel days in that particular region.

“That was a way of actually doing something about the situation,” Lipinski said. “I could at least feel like I’m doing something, trying to fight cancer, whereas I felt like I really couldn’t do anything while my mom was suffering with it.”

The 4,000-mile pledge has proven easier for Lipinski to be involved in after realizing how much went into planning a bike ride of his own.

While he had coordinated a ride from New York City to the tip of Long Island with friends and had been successful in raising money for the American Cancer Society, Lipinski wanted to plan a ride across the nation.

But his dreams of coordinating organizations and celebrities to sign on to the event proved more cumbersome than the senior had originally thought – it was then that a friend told him about the 4K race.

“My plan was actually really similar to 4K’s plan… when I heard about the program, because they already have an established system, I felt that I could do more with them than establishing my own plan,” Lipinski said.

While Lipinski gave up working with Capital Funk after his mother passed away, he now hopes to finish his degree in political science and possibly spend a year or two teaching English in China. Lipinski also hopes that programs like 4K spread to GW.

“I think that programs that involve a time commitment like this as well as a physical challenge like this really give me a kind of appreciation for what the struggle with cancer is like, so I have a big hope that this kind of spreads to GW,” Lipinski said.

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