Six months ago, my best friend Alex Marshall was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma. For those unfamiliar with the disease, Hodgkin's Lymphoma is a blood cancer that affects the lymph nodes. At the start of treatment, the doctors gave Alex only a 60% chance of survival.
He called me when he first found out. I had no idea how to react. I was upset, angry, scared, and confused.
Alex and I have been best friends for over six years. In the professional photo of my family taken at the beach last year, Alex was placed front and center. In high school, Alex and I lost the "Best Bromance" superlative by just several votes. We've auditioned for Americas Got Talent together, marched together through four years of marching band, and visited the world's largest boot in Minnesota. I couldn't imagine losing a friend like him.
Me, Alex, and Tim at the World's Largest Boot:
I got home from school two days after his first chemotherapy and went over to see how he was doing. I barely recognized him. He had lost over 60 pounds, was ghostly pale and had sunken eyes. He was sleeping sometimes over 18 hours a day. As painful as it was to see my friend like this, it was very inspiring to hear him focus only the positive aspects of what he would be going through.
He took the Spring semester off from West Chester to help him rest throughout his recovery. In addition, he bought a puppy for emotional support. Specifically he bought the world's cutest corgi. I highly recommend following Boots the Corgi on Facebook (FB Link).
Boots playing with her friend Moose:
After just three months of chemotherapy, Alex was in remission. He fattened up nicely and his spirit of adventure started to return. Before he had even finished chemotherapy, we were learning to cook chicken dip together with our friend Min and making homemade machetes from pieces of raw steel.
After completing his chemotherapy treatments, Alex has now recovered to the point where is able to go on 10 mile bike rides, and, most importantly, eat raw sushi.
To celebrate his successful recovery, Alex and I are planning a massive adventure this summer alongside our two friends Min and Ben. The plan is to travel the country by car and explore the U.S. National Parks on a three-week camping expedition.
Here is the map of current plan:
The trip will total nearly 6,000 miles of driving, 12,000 feet of elevation change and will include destinations such as:
1) Badlands National Park
2) Mount Rushmore
3) Yellowstone National Park
4) Grand Teton National Park
5) Bryce Canyon National Park
6) Zion National Park
7) Grand Canyon National Park
8) Mesa Verde National Park
9) Trail Ridge Road, CO
10) Rocky Mountain National Park
The only roadblock to this adventure is funding. We expect gas costs for around 6,000 miles to be around $1,000, three weeks food for four men to be about $1500 and lodging to be $500 for motels and campsites. Overall, the costs should be amount to approximately $3000.
We ask that you please help make this trip possible by donating any amount of money to this fundraising page.
To join us on our journey, follow the "Cancer Can Kiss Our Tail Lights" Facebook page (link). On that page we will be posting photographs and live videos of everything we experience along the way.
Thank you for your time in reading this page and your generosity in making this trip a reality!