Family’s battles with cancer inspire man to embark on cross-country cycling journey

BUCKHANNON ­—A senior at West Virginia Wesleyan College is preparing to embark on a lengthy journey while fundraising for cancer awareness.

Along with others from around the country, Ben “Bucky”
Bukowitz, of Mariottsville, Md., has the opportunity to bike across the United States, not only increasing awareness of cancer, but also helping those who are affected by it. In order for Bukowitz to embark on the trip, he must first raise $4,500, which will help patients and loved ones affected by cancer in various hospitals and treatment facilities across the nation.

During his sophomore year at Wesleyan, Bukowitz’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and has since become a survivor. That same year, his aunt died of cancer.

“That kind of put me in touch with the cancer community, seeing it first hand with a family member,” Bukowitz said. “When one of my aunts died of cancer that same year, it hit me pretty hard.”

He wanted to help the community that influenced him and his family so greatly. While researching, Bukowitz came across the Ulman Fund, a foundation that sponsors individuals on biking trips across the United States to help others who are suffering from cancer, both in treatment facilities and hospitals.

Currently, Bucky has raised $2,775 but still needs more since the fund requires each participant to raise a minimum of $4,500.

“The link will take you directly to the website to donate to my fund,” Bucky said.

All of his life, outdoor adventuring has been a passion of Bukowitz’s.

“My mom and I would kayak after school together … I’ve always been an adventurous person,” he said.

Bukowitz also said that since coming to Wesleyan, his love for the outdoors has been fueled even more; every chance he gets, he’ll go biking, kayaking or hiking. Now that he has been accepted into the Ulman Fund excursion, Bukowitz logs anywhere between one to 10 miles — or more — on his bike or on a cycle machine in the WVWC Wellness Center.

When he embarks on the trip, Bukowitz is excited to experience travel in a whole new way.

“I’m pretty excited to meet patients across the country and I’ll really be able to show my support and explain my trip and why it’s important to me and why I care,” he said. “I’m really excited to do a really good thing for others, and I also get to see the country. Seeing the country has always been a big dream of mine.”

Along the route from east coast to west, Bukowitz will stop at hospitals and treatment centers to help cancer patients. The route starts in Baltimore and continues due west. He will see the Rocky Mountains through Montana, and the will end in Portland, Oregon.

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