Thursday August 11 2016 – Anne Arundel County
This 5th day of my Trek Across Maryland can be considered a highlight in many ways. Before getting to that, the weather will be a factor and needs to be mentioned. A Heat Advisory is in effect for central Maryland. Temps reach the 90s and Heat Index values will be over 100°F. I want to assure you and my team that we will be drinking plenty of fluids and have cold towels on ice for relief. We also plan to start early so we can try to get some miles cranked out before the sun gets too high. We have trained during the summer to get acclimated. While I know this event is contradictory to suggests made limit outdoor activities, we will be smart about this and safety if one of my top concerns for those trekking with me today.
This is the heart of the state and most of the day will be a hike down Ritchie Highway towards Annapolis. There will will meet up at the State House for the second year in a row to be welcomed by Governor Larry Hogan. Last year he was fighting his own cancer battled and embraced the Cool Kids Campaign. One of the people he befriended is Karen Shollenberger, who is no longer a kid, but was a CKC volunteer. After the visit, we will work our way to the City Docks where my friend Josh Nuewiller, a self proclaimed ‘poor boy waterman’ will let me ride my bike on his boat to cross the Chesapeake Bay. We will have a special escort for this year’s ride… Track us Live on the Trek Page, but please read this story first…
The main purpose of today is to honor and support our friend in her latest battle
This day will be extra special because it is for a young woman who I knew as a Cool Kids Campaign volunteer who was better. A person who has battled her disease multiple times, and yet was one of the most positive people I’ve know. But after going off to college last year, she got sick again. This is where my team trekker Donna Larkin comes in. Donna reached out to me to ask if there was something she could do for my trek, in honor of Karen. Well, Karen was immediately on our list of people to honor, and on this Day 5. As you can see, she has become friendly with Governor Larry Hogan and we will be meeting him tomorrow. So, who cares about the heat and humidity! We will make it with smiles on our faces.
Here is Karen’s story in her own words:
- 22 Years Old
- Type of Cancer: Acute Lymphoblastic B cell Leukemia
- West Friendship, MD
I was first diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic B cell Leukemia in August 2004. I received the standard 2.5 years of chemotherapy and finished treatment in spring 2007. At first, every cold or headache had us worried about relapse, but as the years went by, the thought crossed our mind less and less. One of my middle school classmates also had leukemia, and she introduced me to cancer camp. Through camp and the Teens.CanSur.Vive group at Cool Kids Campaign, I met so many amazing people that helped me embrace what I’d gone through, and by the time I was writing my college application essays, I referred to it as the worst best thing that ever happened to me.
In August 2013, after my freshman year at Drexel, I went to Hopkins for my annual checkup and found out that I relapsed. After a few rounds of chemo, the doctors decided a bone marrow transplant would be the best treatment. That December, I received my little sister’s bone marrow. Unfortunately, six months later, I relapsed again. After some more chemo, I went to CHOP for a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell trial, where my T cells were engineered to hunt for my B cells. After a year of remission, I relapsed again and tried another CAR T cell trial. Six months later, in June, the leukemia was back and I started my fifth battle. I’m currently receiving chemotherapy to get back into remission so I can receive a second bone marrow transplant in late August, this time from my brother. I am lucky enough to have donor options, but many people do not, so join the bone marrow registry if you are able!
Despite spending most of my college years in treatment, I’ve kept up with my classes online and returned to Philadelphia whenever possible. In my free time, I enjoy photography, traveling, volunteering, and keeping up with my blog, theworstbestthing.weebly.com.
Note that the donation page I am sending you is my portion of the team. This is a collective effort and every penny goes to Cool Kids Campaign for programs that benefit pediatric patients and their families.
More About Why I Do This Trek
Tri Sports Junction
Donna Larkin rejoins the trek team after already putting up a strong hike on Day 2. This will be a thrill as I have grown to feel like I’ve known her for years. She is bringing Kathy Miller along for just the hike today… and it will be a hike!!!
- Trek Home Page– includes live tracking and more background stories.
Live broadcasts will be on Facebook. Most photos throughout the day will be posted on Twitter and Instagram. Videos will be posted on YouTube.
- Twitter: @JustinWeather
- Instagram: justinweather
- Facebook: Justin Berk, Meteorologist
- YouTube: Justin Berk
Get A Trek Hill Killer Jersey
All proceeds will go to Cool Kids Campaign
Big Thank You to our headline sponsor Ledo Pizza
Get the award winning Kid Weather App I made with my oldest son and support our love for science, weather, and technology. Our 3 year anniversary of the release and our contribution to STEM education is this November. It has been downloaded in 60 countries, and works in both temperature scales. With your support we can expand on the fun introduction to science and real weather.