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USC students to make 4,000-mile trek on bike, foot to raise money for cancer fund

(Source: WIS) (Source: WIS)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Three University of  South Carolina students and one recent graduate are making a big commitment this summer when they’ll be taking on 4,000 miles of American terrain to raise money for cancer.

The running and cycling journey is part of the coordinated 4k for Cancer race for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. In 2015, 170  4k for Cancer participants traveled across America and raised over a million dollars to support young adults affected by cancer, according to the organization’s website.
 
Here’s how it works: it's 49 days of running for the runners and 70 days of biking for the cyclists. The training is rigorous, but during the actual 4k for Cancer event, the runners and cyclists get scheduled days off to rest. On average, runners could travel between six and 16 miles on a given day. The cyclists could ride between 75 to 100 miles per day. It takes the runners 49 days to complete the mileage, while it take the cyclists 70 days.

Three USC students - Bailey Wilhelm, McKenzie Johnson, and Jack Bowling are running. They'll start in San Francisco and end in Baltimore. Claudia McSweeney, a USC graduate, is one of the cyclists. She'll be biking from Baltimore to San Diego.
 
They all have different reasons for why they're joining the team of young adults from all across the U.S.
 
For Bowling, it's about fighting against a personal struggle, overcoming it, and inspiring others to do the same.
 
"Cancer is just so prevalent," said Bowling. "All of us have mentioned that we have some sort of connection to cancer, and it's a big debilitation on the mental, physical and social health of so many people.”
 
For McSweeney and Johnson, it's about combining their love for athletics with a passion for service.

"Once I graduated, I was like, 'You know what? I need to do something for someone else,' McSweeney said. "So, this is a great way to do that, and also along the way it’s going to help me too. I'm going to meet great people and it's going to be a big challenge, so I'm super excited."
 
"Cancer has impacted every area of my life - my church family, my family, my friends, my school community, and so just, really accepting that it was this super broad thing, why not give back to this organization?" said Johnson.

Bailey joined the team to honor her grandmother, along with a sorority sister who passed away after a battle with leukemia.
 
"I had a sorority sister, Julie Tamborino, who I actually never met, who impacted this school and my chapter in such a way that made me want to be like her without even knowing her, and I've gotten to know her family pretty well, and they're just such incredible people, and I'm really honored to dedicate this run to her as well," said Wilhelm.

To be a participant, each student has to raise $4,500. If you want to support these brave souls as they run and bike across the U.S.  to support cancer research, click on their links in their names above.

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