College student to bike 4,000 miles for charity

March 18, 2011|BY TIFFANY ARNOLD |
  • Ashley Daniels, a senior at Frostburg State University, will guide 28 bicycle riders on a two-month trip from Baltimore to Portland, Ore.
Submitted photo

Ashley Daniels will go from sea to shining sea

In the name of cancer awareness, Ashley Daniels will lead a team of cyclists on a 4,000-mile ride across the nation.

Starting May 29, Daniels will guide 28 riders along a two-month trip from Baltimore's Inner Harbor to Portland, Ore. The ride will stop at hospitals and community-based cancer awareness events.

 "It's going to be painful and there are going to be days when you don't want to get back on the bike," she said, "but someone with cancer just can't decide, 'I don't want to have cancer today.' They're not just going to wish the cancer away."

The Hagerstown native and 21-year-old senior at Frostburg State University will be riding on behalf of a Baltimore-based nonprofit, 4K for Cancer, which has been coordinating cross-country, bike-ride fundraisers since 2002. Cyclists pledge to raise $4,500 each and will receive bikes for the ride, said Doug K. Conover, the nonprofit's executive director.

"There was a pretty strong parallel between the physical and spiritual challenges of biking across the country and the physical and spiritual challenges of battling cancer," Conover said.

Daniels is the president of a Frostburg student organization known as Colleges Against Cancer and has participated in other cancer-related fundraisers and events while on campus. Conover recruited Daniels to be a co-cordinator for the Baltimore-Portland ride.

"Ashley is a superstar," Conover said.

Ashley Daniels is the daughter of Anna and Phil Daniels of Hagerstown. She has a brother, Kenny Daniels, 13, and a sister, Tara Daniels, 19.

She said she's never biked such a distance, though she used to play softball. She's been training at the YMCA.

"When she told us, we thought she was a little crazy," said her mother Anna Daniels. "But then when we found out what it was and why she wanted to do it, then we were really proud of her."

Ashley's mother had cancer spots removed from her face when Ashley was a child. "It kind of scared me then," Ashley said.

Other family members have also been diagnosed with cancer, she said, including a cousin with melanoma, who decided to take a trip in an RV and blog about the experience.

She said that his trek wasn't the inspiration for this trip.

"It's a crazy thing to do, but it's such a good cause," Daniels said. "People with cancer, their families are already going through so much."

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