Sophia's Appalachian Trail Hike for Cristal
In 2017, I biked across the country with
the 4K for Cancer program. On that ride, I fell in love with the adventure, my
teammates and the mission of the Ulman Foundation.
That summer, I met my 4K teammate Cristal; the Snapchatting, hill conquering, cancer slaying badass who made us all laugh, cry and stay motivated to finish our miles! She was fresh out from treatment from a rare form of bone cancer, and nothing...and I mean nothing, was stopping her from finishing this journey.
On August 12th, 2017, Cristal and our team biked across the Golden Gate Bridge and completed our ride! She finished that ride empowered and stronger than ever and when her cancer came back, she found that strength in our team and within herself.
This December, after a long battle filled with challenges, perseverance, and ALWAYS a sense of humor, Cristal passed away.
When Cristal died, it made me think a lot about what she had taught us. I thought about how she never let anyone's opinions stop her from doing what she wanted. I thought about how she never once apologized for living her life on her own terms. How she gave fear the middle finger and how she stood up for what she believed in, even if she was the only one standing.
I knew I wanted to dedicate a big adventure to her...a girl who was so full of adventure even when her body tried to hold her back.
So, in March, I will be stepping on the Appalachian Trail at Springer Mountain in Georgia and walking (hopefully) 2,000+ miles to Maine.
I am hoping for a few things with this trip:
I want to share Cristal's story with everyone I meet on the Appalachian trail. I truly believe that everyone deserves to know her, so I will carry her story and her wild, goofy spirit with me all the way to Katahdin.
Also, I want to fundraise for the Ulman House to get a giant (and I mean GIANT) cowbell in Cristals honor. As Cristal was the undisputed queen of being loud and proud, my hope is that Cristal's cowbell will be used as a tool for celebration for the young adults with cancer who stay at Ulman House and for them to ring as loud as they can when they hit milestones in their cancer journeys.
Being a part of the Ulman House team for the past 2.5 years has taught me so much about the importance of community, the power of kindness and the true meaning of being the sunshine in times of darkness. I have seen so many families maintain unwavering love and positivity throughout their cancer journeys while staying at the house and I hope I can do my part by raising funds in Cristals honor to support Ulman House.
So, there is my goal! I want to raise $4,200 (or maybe more if we can!!!) to support Ulman House in honor of Cristal!
I definitely won't be able to do this alone, so here is where you all come in. You can support me, Cristal, Ulman House and the young adults with cancer who stay there by donating, sharing this page, telling Cristal's story!!!
As always...Be the Sunshine #TeamCristal!