At High Point University, students are taught that anything is possible. It’s a lesson that rising senior Kathleen Kelley took to heart this summer when she rode her bike 180 miles in just three days to support the American Lung Association.
“My dad and brother have done the ride for the past seven years,” says Kelley. “One day, I was out on a ride with my Dad and said, ‘You know what, I bet I could do that.’ What I really wanted for the summer was to set a goal and accomplish it. This was that goal.”
The ride was the American Lung Association’s “Trek Across Maine.” It crosses the entire state of Maine, from the mountains to the sea. She not only wanted to finish the ride, but do it without ever getting off her bike.
“One of the worst moments was half way up the hill on the first day,” says Kelley. “I just kept thinking ‘I can’t stop, I want to stop, but I can’t.’ It was a battle over my legs and my mind. At times it was very, very hard, but I did it. At the end of the day, I would cross the finish line and think, ‘I can’t believe I just did that.’”
In addition to accomplishing her goal, Kelley says she also wanted to help make a difference. There was one moment of the ride that Kelley says highlighted what the event was really about.
“On the second day of the trek, we heard from a woman whose 10-year-old daughter has asthma,” says Kelley. “The mother was so grateful to us all for coming out to help the research to improve asthma treatments. Then she told us her daughter was actually participating in the ride, which is amazing.”
Kelley says she got some unexpected support from HPU.
“I e-mailed President Nido Qubein to tell him about my ride,” she explains. “He e-mailed me back in less than a day and was so excited about it. He sponsored me and sent me an HPU jersey to wear on the ride. That just doesn’t happen anywhere else. I told my brothers and they were shocked, they couldn’t even tell you their college presidents’ names.”
Kelley will graduate from HPU in May 2014 with a degree in criminal justice. She intends to go to law school after graduation and eventually work for a federal agency – another goal she is sure to accomplish.