First Posted: 1/7/2015
CLARKS SUMMIT — Losing her stepmother to lung cancer in September 2013 wasn’t the start Siobhan Cahill had hoped for to her senior year of high school at Abington Heights.
It was what she got.
But instead of dwelling on her loss, the former Clarks Summit resident and current North Carolina State University student sought a way to honor the life of Linda Cahill, the woman who cared for her and her sister Megan with love from “a big heart.”
“I decided to turn my pain into action,” she said.
She soon learned of a program, 4K for Cancer, run by the non-profit organization Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. The 4,000-plus-mile, 70-day bicycle trek begins in Baltimore, Md. and ends at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Calif. This summer will be the event’s 14th year.
According to the fundraiser website, “Since 2001, groups of college students have undertaken journeys across America with the goal of offering hope, inspiration and support to cancer communities along the way.”
“When I looked into the 4K,” Cahill said, “I was instantly hooked, because it also gives me the opportunity to travel the country. I’ve never done something like this before, so I really can’t wait.”
Although she received several donations so far, totalling $800, she has a long way to reaching her goal. Each participant aims to raise at least $4,500, and Cahill said she hopes to exceed that amount. She has until Thursday, Jan. 15 to reach the $1,000 checkpoint. In order to receive the bike she will ride across the country, she must raise $2,000. She said she hopes to meet that goal soon, in order to begin training, but officially has until May 15 for the full amount.
Those wishing to donate can do so online at 4kforcancer.org/profiles/siobhan-cahill or by mail with a check to 4K for Cancer, 921 E. Fort Ave., Ste 325, Baltimore, MD, 21230. Those paying by check should include their e-mail and Cahill’s name with the donation.
Although she looks forward to the ride, Cahill expects challenges along the way.
“I think the most challenging part of the ride will be overcoming mental obstacles,” she said. “I’m worried that I’m going to get inside my head and end up discouraged.”
She said she plans, however, to maintain a positive attitude.
“I think the most rewarding part of the ride,” she said, “will be the moment when the Golden Gate Bridge comes into site. The ride finishes with us riding over [it], so I can’t imagine how awesome it will be to see it in the distance.”
On her donation page profile, Cahill wrote the reason she is participating in the ride is because “it is the least I can do to honor the memory of all of those affected by cancer. The ride will be difficult and long, but it will be nothing comparable to the struggles cancers patients and their families face every day. I am also riding to honor, remember, and celebrate the life of my late stepmother.”
Her favorite memory with Linda Cahill is waking up early on the weekends to watch the QVC channel and cartoons together.
“Linda was kind and caring,” she said. “She made sure my sister, Megan, and I always had what we needed. She was always happy to have us around.”
At Abington Heights, Cahill was a member of the girls varsity swim team and also competed on the forensic team. She now resides in Raleigh, N.C., and is a freshman at North Carolina State University, where she is majoring in sustainable materials and technology.