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UB student part of group doing coast-to-coast run for cancer organization

Patricia Lorquet trains in UB Stadium. Photo: Douglas Levere

By HALEY CASE

Published April 3, 2017

“I look forward to actually seeing first-hand the people I am running for.”
Patricia Lorquet, UB junior

This summer, while most students are relaxing after a stressful semester, UB junior Patricia Lorquet will be part of a group running over 4,000 miles across the country.

That’s right. Four thousand miles, for the “4K for Cancer Run,” as it’s officially known. From June 18 to Aug. 5, Lorquet will join a group running all the way from San Francisco to New York City to raise money and awareness for the Ullman Cancer Fund, which provides assistance for young adults diagnosed with the disease.

“I figured I could spend this summer just sitting around, hanging out with friends, maybe getting a job,” says Lorquet. “Or I could be doing something a lot more worthwhile.”

Luckily, the cross-country trek is actually a long-distance relay of sorts for Lorquet and her teammates. Nevertheless, the details are challenging, to say the least.

The 30 members comprising the “New York” team will be divided into two separate groups of 15, and further split up into running teams of two. Each pair will take turns running in two-mile increments, with the chance for a break in between while the other groups run.

It works out to about 18 miles per runner each day – for 40 days. Then 10 break days mixed in. That’s a total of 720 miles each runner – including Lorquet -- will personally run as the group travels across the country.

Imagine waking up at sunrise every morning to run from the UB North Campus to Niagara Falls. This is how Lorquet will spend each of the 40 days she runs.

 “On some of the rest days we have the chance to tour cancer facilities across the country, bring care packages to patients, and we even have the honor of choosing a deserving recipient of a scholarship to help students that have been affected by cancer,” says Lorquet. “I look forward to actually seeing first-hand the people I am running for.”

“I figured I could spend this summer just sitting around, hanging out with friends, maybe getting a job. Or I could be doing something a lot more worthwhile,” Lorquet says. Photo: Douglas Levere

For most people, the idea of running across the entire country would seem like a daunting task. But for Lorquet, it’s a challenge she looks forward to taking on.

Each participant was given a rigorous training schedule to get them prepared for the days ahead. But it isn’t the physical struggle that concerns Lorquet.

 “What I’m most nervous about is the uncertainty of it,” says Lorquet. “Will the route that day have a lot of hills or be mostly flat? Will there be rain or wind or will it be hot every day? Those are the sort of things I won’t be able to prepare for.”

With 15 other runners all sharing one van, space is limited, so runners are limited to a bag to carry their gear and just a few other personal items.

Fifty days living out of just one bag would certainly be enough to scare off a much-less motivated student, but Lorquet is already planning ahead. She is ready for times where she will have to wash her gear in the sink of wherever they’re staying that night, and just hope it dries in time to wear.

Interestingly, she actually stumbled upon this opportunity on Instagram. The social media site noticed her past searches for running programs and promoted the “4k for Cancer” run on her feed.

Initially intrigued by the chance to challenge herself as a runner, Lorquet also found this to be a great opportunity because of a close personal connection she has to the cancer community.

When she was 7, she lost her eldest cousin, McKenzie St. Joy, to Leukemia. He was only 17.

Lorquet was too young to really know him as anything other than a cancer patient, but she fondly recalls her family’s stories of him being a happy-go-lucky kid.

Her family has dealt with this type of tragedy many times; in addition to losing her cousin, Lorquet also lost her aunt and uncle (McKenzie’s St. Joy’s parents) as well as a couple of great-aunts to cancer.

“My family has all been very supportive of what I’m doing and excited about the fact that I’m commemorating McKenzie, someone they were all very close to,” says Lorquet, a biological science major on a pre-pharmacy track. “From this experience I hope to use an activity I enjoy as a way to contribute to a greater good, bringing awareness to the disease and contributing to an organization that aids those that are affected by cancer.”

It was also clear to Lorquet that her family wasn’t alone in feeling this hurt and that there isn’t a single person who hasn’t been affected by cancer in some way. She hopes to spend her time on the run learning a bit more about her fellow teammates and their own experiences with this horrible disease.

Lorquet is excited about spending her summer doing something really meaningful, while also having a once-in-a-lifetime experience and get to see amazing sights like Golden Gate Bridge, Yellowstone National Park, the Rocky Mountains and other breathtaking landmarks America has to offer.

In order to run the 4,500 miles, each participant is responsible for raising $4,500 for the cause, as well as participate in community outreach missions like a bone marrow drive and raising awareness about the Ullman Cancer fund.

More information on Patricia’s run and fund-raising information can be found here: https://ulman.z2systems.com/patricia-lorquet.