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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Ally Rising will run across country to raise money for cancer patients

Ally Rising, a sophomore for Marquette participated in the Foundation 4K for Cancer, a student-led 49 day relay-style run across the country to raise money for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. 

Ally Rising, a sophomore in the College of Engineering, was scrolling through Facebook one day when she noticed an advertisement for the Ulman Foundation 4K for Cancer, a student-led relay-style run for 49 days for 49 adults across the country to raise money for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. 

The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults provides college scholarships for young adults with cancer.

While reading about it, Rising said she was intrigued. But after feeling a stronger calling from God, she decided to apply for the run on a whim, without even telling her parents.

In that moment, Rising thought of the impact she could have. She said she was amazed by the opportunity to spend her whole summer running and raising support for cancer with other young adults.

After submitting various essays and completing a phone interview, Rising was selected as a runner and assigned to Team Boston, the group of students running from San Francisco to Boston. Team Baltimore is the other group of students that run from San Francisco to Baltimore. Team Baltimore has 29 runners and Team Boston has 33 runners.

Now Rising is training for the 4,000-mile run, which she plans to dedicate to her grandma who died from pancreatic cancer and her mom who is a breast cancer survivor.

“Cancer has impacted me since I was really young,” Rising said. Her grandma passed away when she was a year and a half old.

After losing her grandma, Rising said cancer had always been in the back of her mind. Then, Rising’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when Rising was in seventh grade. 

“It’s hard to understand (cancer) as a seventh grader,” Rising said. “It’s kind of scary.”

Rising said watching her mom go through chemotherapy and radiation showed her how strong her mom was.

“She worked through chemo and radiation for like a year which was really inspiring,” Rising said. “So I’ve always wanted to do something for her to show her how impacted I was by her cancer journey and how much she’s changed who I am. So I’m really excited to run this summer for my grandma and my mom.”

Rising said the run will take place from June 16 to Aug. 3 and will take up most of her summer.

She said she will be placed into a group of two or three that she will be responsible for running two mile legs with before another group runs their two mile leg where they left off.

“It’s kind of like leap frog,” Rising said.

She said a van will drop her group off where the last group left off, and then her group will run two miles to the next van, and so on.

Each person will average 400 or 500  miles in total for the 49 days.

She said she will be running during the day for about 16 miles until 4 or 5 p.m., and then staying at host sites during nighttime.

“Everywhere we stay and all of our food is donated to us,” Rising said.

She said she plans to stay in YMCAs, churches, community centers and other places donated to the group.

At the host sites, Rising said she will have opportunities to shower, eat dinner, meet people and sleep, before running again in the morning.

Rising said she will be given rest days, in which she will visit hospitals to give college scholarships to young adults with cancer, find food donations or sightsee.

“Right now I’m one of the leaders who is in charge of securing host sites and finding food donations,” Rising said.

Currently, she is reaching out to find places to stay, but closer to the run and during the run, she will go out and gather food donations.

Rising said  sometimes places will donate their building as host sites and will make them meals which the runners are really grateful for.

Another way Rising is preparing for the run is by completing detailed training plans that are made for her by the foundation’s staff. She said it consists of different running intervals four days a week with cross training two days a week, and one rest day.

“I ran a half marathon in September and I run all the time, but never something like this,” Rising said.

Right now, Rising said she is running up to six miles per day, but as it gets closer to the run, she will start to simulate the run by splitting her miles up into two mile increments.

As a member of the Marquette rowing team, Rising said she lifts weights on top of her scheduled workout.

“It’s a lot of exercise, but I love it so it’s not difficult for me,” Rising said. “For other people looking in, they probably think all I do is work out.”

Rising said she is looking forward to warmer weather so she can run outside through the city of Milwaukee instead of inside the Rec Center on a treadmill.

“I love running in the city,” Rising said. She said she was inspired by the Marquette community to do the run.

“Knowing that President Lovell runs and my (mathematics) professor Dr. (Gary) Krenz is a runner who has run the Boston Marathon about 13 times really inspires me,” Rising said.

Rising said that her best friend Elizabeth Wojtysiak, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences,  has also made a big impact on her during her time at Marquette.

“Rising is one of the most loyal, faithful and devoted people I’ve ever met, and she has an incredible work ethic,” Wojtysiak, said. “She’s a person that I can trust with anything and will make light of any situation, no matter how bad it seems, with her quirky sense of humor.”

Wojtysiak said that Rising works hard in every aspect of her life whether it be school, rowing or her faith.

“I am so proud of her for doing this run,” Wojtysiak said. “Her life has been profoundly impacted by cancer, and running across the country in honor of those in her life affected by the disease is an amazing tribute.”

On top of training for her running goal, Rising is working towards her fundraising goal of $4,500. Each runner has a minimum fundraising goal of $4,500.

Rising said all of the money she raises goes directly back to the Ulman Foundation and Young Adults with Cancer.

The money is used to award college scholarships to young adults impacted by cancer, help recently diagnosed patients navigate their cancer experiences, run a 5K program for cancer patients to run or walk and pay for the Ulman Foundation’s house in Baltimore where people coming out of cancer care can live and work their way back into the community, Rising said.

“It’s difficult,” Rising said. “I feel like I’m at a point right now where I’ve reached out to a lot of friends and family for donations but I feel like I’m stuck.”

Rising said she plans to reach out to running stores in the area and hopefully plan a 5K this spring for the Marquette community to participate in.

“I want to to give back and help raise money,” she said. “I definitely want to do something to get Marquette involved since the community has had such a big impact on my running.”

Andrea Gorman, assistant director for the engineering leadership programs in the College of Engineering, said she met Rising during the college’s pre-college Engineering Leadership Academies.

“(Rising) certainly has a growth mindset,” Gorman said. “She is always looking for ways to challenge and stretch herself and others.”

Gorman said it has been amazing to watch Rising invest in her goals and make progress with them.

“Her glass always seems to be half full,” Gorman said. “I think that’s one of many reasons why people want to support her and her dreams.”

The world looks better around her because of her positive attitude and determination, Gorman said.

As the run gets closer, Rising said she is most looking forward to seeing new places and meeting new faces.

“I’m really excited to see a lot of the country,” Rising said. “I think running through it will be better than just driving through it to visit.”

Rising said she is most excited to visit the Golden Gate Bridge, Lake Tahoe, the Loneliest Highway, Yellow Stone National Park, Mt. Rushmore and Niagara Falls. She said she is also looking forward to meeting other people who have  been impacted by cancer. Rising said she doesn’t know anyone else who is participating in the run, but she hopes to get to know everyone.

“(This experience) sounds crazy looking at it from faraway, but I’m excited,” Rising said. “I’m so excited.”

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    Ally RisingMar 19, 2019 at 9:56 pm

    If you feel so called to donate or to learn more here is my fundraising page: