UND student Mariah Salfer continues trek across America to raise awareness for those with cancer
The distance from Baltimore to Columbus, Ohio is roughly 404 miles, taking an average of 6 hours and 19 minutes to complete by driving.
For University of North Dakota student Mariah Salfer, the journey took 10 days -- on a bicycle.
Staying in Columbus, Ohio for two days, Salfer and her riding group -- Team Portland -- visited the James Cancer Center, where they had the opportunity to tour the facilities and labs. The riders also set up a bone marrow drive, where willing people could have their cheeks swabbed in the hopes of one day becoming a bone marrow donor.
The team also set aside some time to deliver a scholarship to a young man who beat cancer in the 7th grade and is studying to one day become a nurse.
Along with their visit to the James Cancer Center, on the night of June 15, Salfer and Team Portland also had the honor of meeting and having dinner with Doug Ulman, the man who started the Ulman Cancer Fund.
Adapting to the road
Salfer and Team Portland ran into a few issues a few days ago.
The riding team is largely dependent on donations for items such as food and a place to sleep for the night. With hosts volunteering in advance to offer a place for the riders to stay at night, the riders typically don’t have to worry about locating a host on the road.
“We had a host fall through,” Salfer said. “We found that out at our last water stop when we still had 20 miles to go, so then we had to spend the next few hours calling and trying to find someone to host us because we didn’t have a place to stay.”
Despite the unforeseen issue, the team overcame and found a place to stay for the next two days. This time around they got to sleep in a bed, a rare treat for the riders who bring along sleeping bags in preparation for sleeping on the ground.
The number of miles the riders travel slowly increases each day.
Salfer says the first 100 mile day is quickly approaching.
Matt Eidson University & Public Affairs student writer