Everyday Heroes

Hitting The Pavement For A Cause! How Two College Students Are Raising Thousands For Cancer Research

They've covered almost 900 miles, inspiring countless others along the way. Their method of travel might surprise you!

In the age of the coronavirus, college students are finding creative ways to spend their downtime.

Jake Adkins, 21, and Andy Walker, 22, decided to spend the dog days of their summer traveling. They're making the trek from Boston, MA to Walker's hometown of Mason, Michigan – but, they're not covering the 850+ mile trip by car or plane.

They're traveling by way of – wait for it – roller blades!

The rising sophomores decided to make the journey partly out of boredom, and also to raise funds for cancer research – a cause that has touched both of them personally. Walker's grandfather passed away from the disease and Adkins' mother is a two-time lymphoma survivor.

The friends, freshman roommates and teammates, who are calling themselves the "Men In Blades," wanted to bring awareness to the issue, especially now that Covid-19 has caused a massive decrease in funding, according to the American Cancer Society.

"During this time a lot of cancer patients aren't getting the attention, resources and donations they used to be getting," Adkins told WLNS-TV. "Not only for our friends and family, but for all those battling cancer."

Jake Adkins and Andy Walker made the 800+ journey to Walker's hometown in Michigan on their roller blades. @men.in.blades

The young men made the trip in 10 days, skating for roughly 100 miles each day, in 25-mile increments. Each day, they stopped to take a nap halfway through. A small crew, including Adkin's dad and a massage therapist, followed them in a small RV and was there to provide water, medical support and words of encouragement along the way.

"The journey became very difficult rather quickly," Walker told CNN. "There were plenty of times where one of us would completely lose vision and would have to grab the other's shirt for guidance."

The men, who are college roommates and play on the same hockey team, wanted to do something "bigger than themselves." @men.in.blades

While hitting the ice for a hockey game is much different than riding hundreds of miles on roller blades, Walker and Alden say the same competitiveness and drive to succeed pushed them to keep going.

"We're determined," Walker said. "It's just tough. You've got to just put your head down and eventually you'll get there."


Walker and Adkins started a GoFundMe before they left, and at the time of this post the men have raised over $27,000. They plan to keep the fundraiser going to encourage those who haven't yet to donate.

"Coming from backgrounds having dealt with cancer, it truly means everything to both of us and our families, and we are hoping this shines a light on the things to be grateful for in life and that cancer hasn't stopped, so neither should we," Adkins said.

The young men said the journey was the most challenging thing they've done in their lives thus far. @men.in.blades

Both Adkins and Walker say the trip has forever changed them, and the lessons they've learned will "humble them for the rest of their lives."

More important, the young men feel as if they've made a difference and hope their actions have inspired others who are thinking of doing something similar.

"I think that this is also something that can be a movement for people to get out and do something not for themselves, and do something that's a lot bigger than you are," Adkins said.

What an inspiring story! We're sure the Men In Blades will never forget their adventure, and the lives they've touched along the way.

How can you start something good?

You can contribute to the Men In Blades' fundraiser by clicking here.

Also, if you're feeling inspired, why not consider starting your own fundraiser? You might not want to roller blade 800+ miles, but you can help in other, smaller ways. You can collect donations on Facebook, or hold a social-distance friendly lemonade or bake sale. Think of a cause you're passionate about and go from there.

Let's #StartSomethingGood together!

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