Aurora native running across country for cancer charity
Aurora native running across the country to raise funds for cancer charity
Ally Rising applied on a whim for the journey that will change her life.
She saw a Facebook ad about joining a team of other college students running across the country to support a charity that helps young adults with cancer, and she thought, "'Oh, I think I want to do that.'"
And now she is.
Rising, 20, of Aurora, is on the ninth day of a 49-day trek on foot from San Francisco to Boston, running as part of a team of 27 others who are raising money for the Ulman Foundation, a nationwide nonprofit that creates communities of support for young adults with cancer.
She didn't put much thought into the original decision to apply. But since that fateful moment scrolling social media, Rising said she's pondered much about cancer, its effects on her life and how to turn the fear and hurt and struggle surrounding the disease into something meaningful.
"I've done some community work in Milwaukee," the Marquette University engineering student and rowing team member said. "But I really wanted to do something that would make a bigger impact, and not only leave a mark on others around me, but leave a mark on myself."
Cancer introduced itself to Rising when she was a toddler and her grandmother moved in with her family to battle the disease. She later lost her grandmother to pancreatic cancer and her grandfather to renal cancer.
Then, when she was a seventh-grader, her mother Veveca was diagnosed with the disease. Breast cancer, it was, and Veveca fought it valiantly, her daughter remembers.
"She was just super strong," Rising said. "I think it made it a lot easier on everyone around her because, although we were worried, she had such a positive outlook on it that we all knew she would survive and be better for it afterward."
Survive she did, and so did the positive outlook.
Rising is carrying that positivity with her as she runs -- in short legs of a few miles adding up to between six and 16 miles each day -- with her team across the country. It's a more than 4,000-mile journey called 4K for Cancer, and it's already got her "pushing my body for those who can't," as she wrote on her blog, https://risingontherun.home.blog/, after the run started June 16.
Rising is the only member of the Ulman Foundation's Team Boston this summer from Illinois, and she's enjoying the company of other college-aged runners who want to make the cancer fight easier on young adults.
"It's super inspiring to see how other people have been impacted by cancer and how they're doing the same kind of thing I am and making the best out of it," she said.
Each 4K for Cancer participant is tasked with finding free sites to sleep and donated meals for one leg of the route, and with raising money. By the time Rising ran with her team across the Golden Gate Bridge in foggy San Francisco, she already was 97 percent of the way to her $5,000 goal. Her fundraising page continues to accept donations at https://ulman.z2systems.com/Ally-Rising.
As Rising and her teammates run across 17 states, they will pause six days to do touristy things, such as explore Yellowstone National Park, and 10 days for service work. On two of the service days, Rising said she and her teammates will visit hospitals, with balloons and cakes in tow, to deliver higher education scholarships to young adults battling cancer.
"That's going to be such a moving thing to do," she said before embarking on the run.
Her father thinks so, too.
Mark Rising, a school board member in Indian Prairie Unit District 204, said he and his wife had to get over their shock at their daughter's request to spend her summer traversing the country in running shoes before they appreciated her willingness to seek out a challenge and accept an opportunity to do good.
"We couldn't be more proud of her," Rising's father said. "What an incredibly selfless thing to do."