McKenzie Stevens is a graduate student at Spalding University. In the summer of 2017 she will be traveling with a group of college-aged students on a 49 day, 4000+ mile run from San Francisco, CA to New York, NY.
What is your connection to the cancer community?
I have run across many people in my life who have dealt with or who are still dealing with cancer. One of my strongest connections to the cancer community is through my best friend. Her brother was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of Sarcoma at the young age of 23. He bravely battled through cancer for fifteen months. A month before his 25th birthday he left his final touches on Earth. While cancer may have taken his life, it did not take his soul. He never let his cancer dampen his young and vibrant personality. He never complained or asked for help even in his weakest moments. He was always optimistic and went out and conquered each day with a smile. I saw my best friend and her family go through things that no one should have to go through. He was always such an inspiration because of the way he continued to live his life even after his diagnosis. He still went fishing, played his music and enjoyed a few cold ones every now and then. His laughter was contagious and he filled everyone around him with hope. I continue to support him as much as I can by contributing to the memorial fund that was set up in his honor. I wear my Team Steven shirt proudly when I run races and wear a bracelet daily reminding me to live strong and fight sarcoma.
Why are you traveling over 4000 miles this summer with the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults?
It is a true honor to be a runner for the 4K for Cancer. To many people, it may sound completely absurd to run across the country, but I feel that it makes such a strong statement. Cancer is a long and hard battle that too many people have to face. There are highs and lows, happiness and sadness, pain and euphoria, and struggles and accomplishments. Running to me provides many of the same feelings. I know there are days that I don’t want to run, I feel lousy and it’s hard to pick my feet up off the ground, but the same goes for those with cancer. Unfortunately, people with cancer don’t have a choice whether they go through these steps each day. In order to continue to fight, they have to get up every day and make strides in order to keep fighting and pushing through. As a 4K runner, I will push myself to go through what so many people with cancer deal with on a daily basis.
Giving up is never an option with cancer and giving up on a goal is never an option for me. I’ll never forget when I was running a half marathon and I was feeling just down in the dumps that day. It was raining, I had a cramp and nothing was going my way. It wasn’t until I saw Steven standing on the side of the road that I realized if he can be committed to fighting for everyday of his life, then I can be committed to running for one more hour. It’s moments like that where my problems seem so small and make me appreciate my good health. I want to be committed to everything I do because by doing so I can be confident in saying that I always gave it my all.
I want to honor those lives that are lost by cancer and show hope for the ones who are still battling. I want to run for those who can’t. I know that I can’t change the world by running across the country, but I hope that I can impact a few people along the way; whether that be a family member of a loved one, a person going through treatment, or just a bystander. I hope to inspire others to continue to push forward no matter the obstacles they may face.
2017 marks the 16th year of the 4K for Cancer sending young adults on journeys across the country in an effort to inspire hope and unite communities in the fight against cancer. The 4K for Cancer is a program of The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults (UCF). Interested in joining the fight? Apply to be a rider or runner at www.4kforcancer.org!
Over 70,000 young adults are diagnosed with cancer every year. Young adults (ages 15-39) face a variety of unique challenges with a cancer diagnosis including fertility preservation, social isolation, lack of insurance, delayed diagnosis, and more.
The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults changes lives by creating a community of support for young adults, and their loved ones, impacted by cancer. With your support, the Ulman Cancer Fund is able to provide free support services and resources for the young adult cancer community including:
Cancer to 5K - a 12-week training program designed to introduce or reintroduce cancer survivors to physical activity.
Patient Navigation - a free program (onsite at cancer centers and remotely through our office) that ensures no young adult ever faces cancer alone. We provide one-on-one support & resources to young adults and their families to help them manage the cancer experience and long-term cancer survival.
Scholarships - a financial assistance program to help young adults continue their education after being affected by cancer through their own diagnosis or the diagnosis of a loved one.
UCF House - This year UCF broke ground on a “home away from home” to provide free housing for young adult cancer patients, and their caregivers, in East Baltimore.
Your donation will help make these programs and our mission possible!
|Eileen Strauss||07/21/2017||$25.00||Mary Kate told us about your journey and we were inspired to donate, best wishes. Hope to see you in Ohio next week||Lainie Godic||07/19/2017||$15.00||Proud of you Kenzie!!! You're an inspiration to everyone! Keep it up girlfran!!!!||Susie and Mike Harrison||07/18/2017||$50.00||Kenzie you are awesome!! We are so proud of you! Miss you Love you Susie and Mike ❤️❤️||David and Ann Martin||07/14/2017||$50.00||We are proud of you. Love you, PaPa and Grandma||Shannon Ancheta||07/13/2017||$25.00||Proud of you Kenzie! Love you!||Keith & Lisa Mills||07/08/2017||$100.00||Thanks for running for those who can't!!❤️||Steve and Kim Stevens||07/06/2017||$30.00||30 more days & 30 more dollars! Love you Kenz!||Steve and Kim Stevens||07/03/2017||$49.00||49 Days/49 Dollars! We are so proud of you Sunny!!!||Tracy and Kristen Trenaman||07/03/2017||$100.00||So proud of your determination and big heart! You make the world a better place! Go Team Kenzie!||Whitney Ising||06/29/2017||$50.00||You go, Kenz! This is so great - safe running :)||Dan & Teri Flood||06/28/2017||$20.00||Good Luck||Judy and Ted Christofolis||06/24/2017||$250.00||Good luck Kenzie!||Laura Martin||06/23/2017||$25.00||Good luck Kenzie, love, Laura||Keith Bender||06/18/2017||$100.00||go Kenzie! This will keep you #fasterthanfletch for many races to come!||Paul Bagley||06/15/2017||$50.00||Go Mckenzie!!! JP & Paige miss you!!! So proud of you.||McKenzie Stevens||06/13/2017||$50.00||Go Kenzie....love you bunches||Laura Perez||06/11/2017||$100.00||Good luck Kenzie! You are amazing! -Perez family||Claire Van Matre||06/08/2017||$25.00||Hi Kenzie, How wonderful you are embarking on this journey to support those with cancer.||Billy and Judy Graham||06/06/2017||$50.00||Good luck!||Michael Ising||06/06/2017||$50.00||You inspire us all, especially fighting for a cause that affects each and every one of us! Best of luck Kenzie, and enjoy the journey!||Greg and Margie DeMuth Family||06/05/2017||$50.00||We are very proud of you. You are in our prayers.||Emily Riepenhoff||05/29/2017||$75.00||SO incredibly proud to call you my best friend.||Jill Tabor||05/27/2017||$25.00||So proud of you!! Go Kenzie||Marlene Mckim||05/27/2017||$25.00||Love you!||Michael Woeste||05/26/2017||$100.00||SUSOTA- Spalding University||05/23/2017||$400.00||Thanks to everyone who bought a SUSOTA sweatshirt!||Brittany Morguelan||05/23/2017||$25.00||Best of luck Kenzie! A fantastic cause and a once in a lifetime experience, so awesome!||Zumba Fitness -The Highlands||05/17/2017||$230.54||Thanks to everyone who came out to Zumba for a cause!||Michelle Weikel||04/24/2017||$25.00||Cause when push comes to shove You taste what you're made of You might bend till you break 'Cause it's all you can take On your knees, you look up Decide you've had enough You get mad, you get strong Wipe your hands, shake it off Then you stand Rascal Flatts - Stand||Annie Thomas||04/24/2017||$25.00||Good luck McKenzie! Such an amazing thing you're doing||Olivia Gettelfinger||04/18/2017||$25.00||You are AWESOME!!!! So so cool you are doing this!||Eri Tagaya||04/10/2017||$25.00||What a beautiful and brave thing you are doing! Way to go!||Michael & Emily Harrison||04/09/2017||$50.00||Safe travels and enjoy the view! We are so proud of you!||Michelle Norweck||03/27/2017||$50.00||Run Kenzie Run!||Bradley Keith Wright||03/21/2017||$50.00||Elizabeth Braden||03/15/2017||$50.00||Good luck, Kenzie!||Margie O'Meara||03/14/2017||$25.00||So proud of you McKenzie. Bill and I will be cheering for you.||Charles Schook, Zachary Schook, and Steve Berry||03/13/2017||$550.00||Commonwealth Dodge||03/09/2017||$200.00||Michael Vanover||03/06/2017||$100.00||Best of luck! It means so much to that you are honoring Steven's memory!||Laura DeBeer||03/03/2017||$100.00||Good Luck!!!!!||Tess Petrozzi||03/02/2017||$35.00||PROUD OF YOU KENZ!!||Donna S Bowling||03/01/2017||$50.00||Mary Kate Gladstone||02/18/2017||$30.00||I love ya, Kenz! You're an inspiration and doing wonderful things!||Lauren Heft||02/18/2017||$20.00||You go Kenzer! <3||Linda Lush||02/11/2017||$50.00||We are proud to support you and this awesome cause! Linda, Kevin and Ryan||Meghan Higley||02/09/2017||$50.00||You Rock!! Go Kenzie!!||Lauren Raque||02/09/2017||$50.00||You are amazing!!||Laura Birckhead||01/25/2017||$25.00||Good luck, Kenz! Love ya pal !!||Karen Baker||12/31/2016||$50.00||Robert Kraemer||12/30/2016||$200.00||John Thompson||12/29/2016||$165.00||Good Luck||Keegan Krell||12/26/2016||$100.00||You rock!! Can't wait to hear all about it!||James E. Smith||12/15/2016||$100.00||Few Things: 1. "Don't give up, don't ever give up." - Jimmy V 2. Donation made in honor of my grandfather, James E. Smith, who died from melanoma, but did not lose his battle to it because of how he lived 3. Very proud of you, and love you very much Kenzie!||Hailey Dawes||12/15/2016||$50.00||HBD and Good Luck!!||Nancy Jackson||12/15/2016||$25.00||Highlands Tap Room Fundraiser||12/14/2016||$231.46||Sean Barney-McCoy||12/13/2016||$50.00||Good luck!!!||Janet Coke||12/12/2016||$50.00||William Birk||12/07/2016||$20.00||Justin Cowley||12/05/2016||$25.00||Run like your ass is on fire||Heline Cozzens||12/05/2016||$10.00||Jacob Harrison||12/03/2016||$100.00||Can't remember the last time I even ran 4 miles..can't believe you're running 4K! Love you Kenzie||Kenneth Hunt||12/03/2016||$50.00||Meghan Pollock||12/02/2016||$50.00||You are awesome!||Robert Mullen||12/02/2016||$50.00||Louisville Recovery Service LLC||12/02/2016||$200.00||Patricia Brumleve||12/02/2016||$50.00||Anonymous Friend||11/30/2016||$15.00||Keep it up Kenz! This is awesome :)||Savannah Kralovec||11/29/2016||$50.00||You are AMAZING and we will be praying for you! Love, Savannah & Cameron||Taylor Dadds||11/29/2016||$25.00||You're a rockstar! Love ya Kenz||Pete Eddings||11/29/2016||$100.00||Is 4K miles a long way or something? Proud of you Kenz||Kristen Trenaman||11/29/2016||$50.00||Go Kenzie!!||Bender Family||11/29/2016||$50.00||cheering you on, Kenzie!||Anonymous Friend||11/29/2016||$15.00||Anonymous Friend||11/29/2016||$100.00||Love you Kenzie, So proud of you! The Schaaf's||Marsha Bailey||11/29/2016||$25.00||Regina Reed||11/26/2016||$50.00||Amanda Brockman||11/26/2016||$50.00||Nancy Shakleton||11/25/2016||$50.00||Sheryl Eddings||11/18/2016||$25.00||Tracey Riepenhoff||11/08/2016||$50.00||Karen Baker||11/08/2016||$100.00||Anonymous Friend||11/07/2016||$50.00||Good Luck to you!! Check in with your mom often!!||Theresa Hess||11/07/2016||$50.00||Heroes come and go but Ledgends are forever. You are a ledgend in my book Good Luck Kenzie||Anonymous Friend||11/07/2016||$50.00||Forget about the miles, just remember the journey. And as Steve Jobs once said "Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who usually do."||Rebecca Lamb||11/06/2016||$50.00||Jack & Patsy Klausing||11/04/2016||$50.00||Anonymous Friend||11/04/2016||$25.00||Good luck Kenzie! I'm proud of you!||Anonymous Friend||11/04/2016||$100.00||Good luck Kenz!||Maudine Stevens||11/04/2016||$100.00||Judy Flatt||11/03/2016||$100.00||Love you Kenzie❤️||Brandon Woods||11/03/2016||$50.00||John Vanover||10/31/2016||$200.00||Elizabeth Ververeli||10/30/2016||$150.00||Wishing you much success from the Ververeli Family||Paula Sperco||10/29/2016||$50.00||Good Luck Kenzie!||The Krell Family||10/28/2016||$50.00||Proud of you Kenzie!||Janice Faller||10/28/2016||$50.00||Earlene Woeste||10/27/2016||$50.00||Rita Martin||10/26/2016||$50.00||Luke Schafer||10/25/2016||$25.00||So excited for you! Also, very proud!||Nate Dawg||10/23/2016||$10.00||For the dawgs||Mary Darlene Ballard||10/17/2016||$50.00||Peter Fletcher||10/16/2016||$100.00||Kelly Carns||10/16/2016||$25.00||Richard Wiese||10/16/2016||$50.00||Best of luck on your goal! Thanks for doing this to fight cancer.||David Harrison||10/16/2016||$100.00||Love you Kenziie! Mike & Susie||Kim Stevens||10/04/2016||$150.00||Love You Sunshine!!!!||Steve Stevens||10/04/2016||$150.00||Much Love! Dad|