PARKERSBURG - A Parkersburg resident is part of a group of four graduating Marshall University seniors who will be taking to the road on bicycles in May to raise awareness of cancer and to raise money for research.
Three of the four students were in Parkersburg over the weekend as part of a training ride to prepare themselves for the 618-mile trek that begins May 9 in Huntington and will end at the national headquarters of the Delta Chi Fraternity in Iowa City, Iowa.
The goal of the ride is to raise money for the V Foundation for Cancer Research, said Seth Rabatin, of Parkersburg, who is graduating from Marshall with a degree in natural resources and recreation management. The four riders are all members of Delta Chi.
Photo by Brett Dunlap
Marshall University graduating seniors Seth Rabatin of Parkersburg, from left, Anthony Severino of Elkins and Scott Hamlin of Huntington will be riding over 600 miles in May to raise money for cancer research.
"Cancer affects millions of people every year," Rabatin said. "I have lost a family member to cancer.
"It is such a big thing. We are doing this in the memory of the people we lost. We want to give back as much as we can to help other people get through their tough times."
Joining Rabatin on the ride will be Anthony Severino of Elkins, who is graduating from Marshall with a degree in criminal justice, Scott Hamlin of Huntington, who is graduating with a degree in history and Cameron Mallory of Princeton, who is graduating with a degree in engineering.
Rabatin, Severino and Hamlin were in the Parkersburg area over the weekend preparing for their upcoming ride.
"We are all graduating seniors and we wanted to do something together," Hamlin said. "It is like our last hurrah.
"We talked about running or doing some kind of trip. It came down to us talking about doing a ride to our fraternity's headquarters in Iowa just for ourselves, to raise some money and have a good time."
The riders are expecting to cover around 60 miles a day and are planning to travel mostly back-county roads and trying to stay off most major highways.
They will go from Huntington to Portsmouth, Ohio, to Lucasville, Ohio, and go in a northwest direction into Indiana, making their way to Purdue and on to El Paso, Ill., and eventually to Iowa City.
The riders have allotted two weeks to make the trip, but all are hopeful they can do it in 10 days.
"Along the way, we are going to stop off in local towns," Hamlin said. "We are going to try to raise awareness about cancer and cancer research."
They will stop at small stores and other places and just talk with people. They are also working on an idea, inspired by other cancer awareness campaigns. It involves taking a white board and having people write messages about what they would like to see in a world without cancer, whether that is wanting to spend more time with someone they have lost or some other kind of message. They want to take pictures of those people with their messages and create a collage that they want to make copies of and send out to the people who took the time.
"That puts it more on a personal level," Severino said.
The riders are already collecting pledges and donations as well as other support for the trip with equipment and other needed items, Rabatin said.
"We already have over $2,000 in pledges," he said.
All of the money raised will go directly to the V Foundation. What the riders can't get through donations will come directly out of their own pockets.
"Every dollar we have gotten has gone straight to the donations, nothing is going towards the trip," Hamlin said.
The riders will also be collecting money along the way.
"We don't care if it is $1 or $5, $200 or $1,000," Hamlin said. "It doesn't matter what the amount is. It is going to a good cause."
During recent years, Huntington has gotten a reputation after being named one of the most obese cities in the United States. The riders want to change this perception.
"We are all good-sized boys and we are riding bikes 600 miles," Hamlin said. "We hope that will give some people some motivation to get up off the couch and go walk."
The riders have been training whenever they have had the chance.
"It is just a matter of getting on the bikes and going," Rabatin said. "It is hard at times to find openings in all of our schedules where we can all get together and ride.
"Whenever we get a free chance to get on a bike and get in 20-30 miles."
The riders know the money they raise will go to help a lot of people, whether it is giving someone a little more time or adding to someone's quality of life.
"Not part of a project or anything," Hamlin said of the effort. "It is just us doing it for a good cause and wanting to give something back.
"Cancer affects everybody. We are excited to get on the road and do it. We are ready."