I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted on my 4K blog, but after everything that’s happened in the past week, it goes without saying that the 4K for Cancer is an organization that will forever connect us with family – your own teammates you cycled/ran across the country with; your fellow 4K alumni that will forever display their enthusiasm for the organization; the current and future 4K cyclists and runners; those battling and those affected by cancer; and of course the family, friends, and loved ones of all 4K family.
On June 13th, the 4K family mourned the loss of a beloved individual who was on this year’s team Portland. It’s such a tragedy hearing about the passing of an individual, but this one hits home hard. Jamie Roberts, a graduate of St. Mary’s College in Maryland, signed up to join the fight against cancer. After hearing about the 4K and seeing two of her friends finish the inaugural run last summer, she was inspired to sign up and take on the challenge of traversing the country by pure manpower – through cycling. It takes a special individual to willingly sacrifice their time and spend all their efforts in this fight against cancer, which says a lot about her character. Though I did not personally know Jamie, it takes a selfless and devoted individual to carry out the 4K mission. From all the outpouring of love I’ve seen from her 4K and college teammates, her family, and her friends, it goes without saying that she truly was an extraordinary person.
The 4K has made a such a significant impact in my life, and a big part of that has to do with all the connections I’ve made since I signed up for the 2013 ride. One of my team’s mantra was “Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten” – and that’s exactly what the 4K is, a family. When I found out about Jamie’s passing, I couldn’t help but feel emotionally numb – my heart sank. To hear about the passing of a family member is heart wrenching, and I immediately felt lonely. I wanted to be around my teammates, surrounded by my 4K family in this time of grief. It wasn’t long before I heard back from teammates, past riders, current riders, and even my pedal pal checking up on anyone and everyone that had been affected by this tragedy. It’s hard to put into words what the 4K means to me, but know that it has changed my perspective for the better and it continues to make an impact on my life. The riders and supporters of the 4K continually inspire me in all that they do. Jamie’s passing has united a community of supporters not only across the nation, but also throughout the world. She continues to be an inspiration to many. Her tragic passing has changed lives for the positive, and this is something she strived for when she signed up to do the 4K. To see her mission continue to be carried out by so many people is awe-inspiring. A movement on Facebook was started a couple days ago that symbolically represents the remaining number of miles Jamie had left to bike until she reached Portland. People post the number of miles they rode that day (or even ran, hiked, or biked) and use the hashtag #milesforjamie to help her reach the finish line. Just in the past 3 days, over 3000 miles (and counting) have been logged in by people everywhere: miles all across the US, support from all the current teams and even Texas 4000 riders, bike rides in Copenhagen and Chengdu, runs in Paris and Bangkok – the support is tremendous. With every mile that we ride, we will continue to carry your spirit with us.
My heart goes out to Jamie’s family, friends, and teammates. Jamie’s memory will continue to live on through the lives of those she touched. Know that you have a community of supporters with the 4K for Cancer and remember that we will always stand by you – we are family.
The Roberts family wishes for any donations to be made to The Ulman Cancer Fund in honor of Jamie Roberts and the 4K for Cancer Portland Team. Donations can be made at http://4kforcancer.org/profiles/jamie-roberts
Miles for Jamie Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/744851622245768/
Statement by the Ulman Cancer Fund on Jamie’s passing: http://ulmanfund.org/statement-by-ulman-cancer-fund-ceo-brock-yetso-on-the-loss-of-4k-for-cancer-rider-jamie-roberts/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=statement-by-ulman-cancer-fund-ceo-brock-yetso-on-the-loss-of-4k-for-cancer-rider-jamie-roberts