Day 3 of our Trek Across Maryland brings on a few welcome changes. First, we welcome Ben Hall who joins us a a single day trekker as we dedicate this to 5 year old Claire Russel (her story below). At one point in his 20s, Ben weighed over 250 lbs! He woke up one day and wanted to change that. He did and is an inspiration to our trek team. Our own personal American Ninja Warrior. He ran 353 miles from his home in Carroll County to his late uncle’s house in Fulton, NY (near Syracuse) to ‘Crush Cancer’ in honor of his uncle and aunt who both died from caner. He ran 20 to 30 miles a day with a duffle bag in a stiller he pushed. That is dedication and I know he will be able to handle us bumping up our distance today to 51 miles (according to my mapping, but my watch might record it differently).
This will be one of our longest days but I made it to keep on pace between key Maryland towns. Today we leave Hancock and must start with 10 miles on the Western Maryland Rail Trail so we stay in the state. There is no road other than I-68 that goes through this skinny part of Maryland west to east. We will bike 10, then pick up the roads again in Big Pool transitioning to our hike for 27 miles. Then in Boonsboro we will go back to our bike for 14 miles into Frederick. this is the mountains part but much easier than the challenge of Day 2.
Here’s a brief view of the terrain map. You can track us LIVE on my Trek Page
Our Cool Kid of the day is a 5 year old girl who has completed 7 rounds of chemo. I have a 5 year old son and this just breaks my heart. I will not see him until we finish in Ocean City this weekend, but I know I will. I want The Russell family to KNOW they can mark a spot on the calendar and see Claire with beautiful her smile then as well.
Day 3 – Claire Russell
5 years old
Type of Cancer: Ewing’s Sarcoma
Lives in Fort Meade, MD
In her parent’s words:
When Claire was four years old, she began to experience intermittent back pain. In May of 2014, while on vacation to our home state of Washington, the pain became unbearable. An emergency room visit revealed a mass behind her lungs. The doctors recommended we fly home to Baltimore and seek care at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
On May 22, 2014, a biopsy done at Johns Hopkins revealed that Claire had a Cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma. We were devastated but also faithful and optimistic.
N.E.D= No Evidence of Disease! Basically today she is cancer free. Let’s keep her that way.
Claire completed seven rounds of intensive chemotherapy before having surgery to remove four of her ribs and part of her spinal sheath. She also had a spinal fusion. Upon healing from surgery, she completed another ten rounds of chemotherapy.
After nearly a year of treatment, Claire was declared NED (no evidence of disease) on May 14, 2015.
Shortly after finishing treatment, Claire broke her femur due to her bones being weakened by chemo. She spent eight weeks in a body cast and is still unable to bear weight on her right leg.
Throughout all these trials, Claire has remained upbeat, happy, and with a smile on her face. She will be starting Kindergarten this fall, and we couldn’t be more thankful.
Please help send your good vibes to Claire, her family, and my trek team. We are out here for her and all of the Cool Kids!
Cool Kids We Honor This Week
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