Matthew Dexter was 13 when his mother, Christine died of stomach cancer. Running, he says, eventually helped him get his life back on track.
The University of Maine sophomore is now planning to run to help others. This summer, for 42 days, Dexter will jog from sea to shining sea to spread awareness about cancer and raise money for research and for young cancer survivors.
Dexter and 33 other college students from around the country will team up to log 4,000 miles in the second annual Ulman Cancer Foundation’s 4K for Cancer, a running relay from San Francisco, Calif. to Baltimore, Md.
The psychology major from Acton, Mass. will begin the trek June 15 near the Golden Gate Bridge. Each member of the relay team will run six to 10 miles a day, and finish the fund-raising journey July 26 on Federal Hill in the Charm City.
Dexter is about $1,000 shy of raising his goal of $5,000. Last year, runners and bikers taking part in the annual event contributed almost $775,000 to the Ulman Cancer Foundation’s 4K for Cancer fund.
The motto for the relay is “Change Lives” and that’s what Dexter has his sights set on doing. “I want to change at least one person’s life,” he says.
On the 42-day journey, he’ll have a number of opportunities to do so; he says he’s eager to visit patients, hand out chemo packs (comfort items for patients undergoing chemotherapy) and deliver college scholarships to young adults fighting cancer.
Dexter plans to blog and post photos throughout the trek so friends and family can vicariously experience highlights along the way.
4K for Cancer is a program of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults that Doug Ulman started in 1997. Ulman was 19 and about to begin his sophomore year at Brown University when he was first diagnosed with cancer. He formed the nonprofit organization to enhance “lives by supporting, educating and connecting young adults, and their loved ones, affected by cancer.”
Ulman, a former soccer player for the Division I Brown Bears, is now a three-time cancer survivor and is president and CEO of LIVESTRONG Foundation.
Striving to make a positive difference runs in Dexter’s family as well. His father, Jim participates in the Pan-Mass Challenge, a bike-a-thon in Massachusetts that raises money for cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dexter, who completed an ultra marathon this past fall in New Hampshire, was considering how he could contribute when he spied an ad for 4K for Cancer on Facebook.
To learn more, to contribute and to read his blog during the trek, visit 4kforcancer.org/profiles/matt-dexter.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777