Teri’s Notebook: Carson High School graduates plan trek
For the Nevada Appeal
They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. But for Adam Shoaf and Gehrig Tucker, both 21, the journey began long before they will ever set a foot on the trail.
“I started out with the idea about two-and-a-half years ago,” Shoaf said. “I knew I wanted to start a community-based program.”
A couple of false starts and road blocks later, he and Tucker have created the Trek 4 Life nonprofit to raise money for families struggling with cancer.
The 2014 Carson High School graduates are planning a 50-day, 1,000 mile trek from Northern California to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail to raise awareness about and funds for those suffering from cancer and their families.
“It’s going to be an adventure for sure,” Shoaf said. “People go on that trip for various reasons. We didn’t want it to be about us. We want it to be about others in the community. We are going to have motivation every day.”
The two are collecting stories from cancer survivors throughout Northern Nevada, and they will share those stories every morning before they set on the trail on their video blog and social media accounts.
“We want to put a name to cancer,” said Tucker, whose mom recently celebrated 15 years of being cancer free by participating in a 39.3-mile walk. “We want to put a face to it and a story behind it.”
Shoaf’s father is recovering from colorectal cancer.
“I think what helped him was so much positive reinforcement from family and other programs,” he said. “We want to be that for others.”
Their goal is to raise $50,000 — asking business to sponsor them per mile — to then distribute to the 50 families whose stories were highlighted.
Shoaf, who’s studying biochemistry and microbiology at the University of Nevada, Reno, said his mind has been occupied with planning this venture.
“I’m taking 16 credits, all upper division science classes,” he said. “And all I want to do is work on this foundation.”
Tucker, who works on a ranch in Pleasant Valley, agreed.
“I buck hay bales, and that’s all I want to do, too,” he said.
They’re seeking people to share their stories, either anonymously or in a video interview, as well as donors for the project.
They’re planning a series of training hikes once the weather warms up and are inviting community members to join in.
“They can even bring their dogs,” Tucker said. “But they better be ready to get after it.”
The planned departure date is May 18.
“Our intention is to let each individual who is battling cancer know that they are not alone and to encourage other to keep fighting — to keep trekking,” Shoaf said.
For more information, to donate or to join the story, go to trek4lifenv.org or follow Trek 4 Life on Facebook. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at email@example.com.