Running coast to coast for a cause

Pennridge Graduate to run across the country

Nicole Mehlman, a Pennridge High School ’09 alumna and current senior at Niagara University, will take part in a 4,000-mile run this June with 29 others in an effort to raise awareness and support for cancer patients.


The 4K for Cancer group is a nonprofit organization sponsored by the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, which focuses on supporting and educating cancer patients. The money it raises goes toward things like college scholarships and fertility treatments, since some radiation treatments decreases one’s fertility.


“People don’t know about this young adult group of people who get cancer and it’s shocking for them,” Mehlman said. “They’re supposed to be healthy.”

Mehlman and the other runners are each required to raise $4,500 for the trip by May 15. According to Mehlman, 83 cents of every dollar is given to a young adult with cancer who needs help.

The Trip in a nutshell:

  • will start in San Francisco on June 15 and end thirty days later in Baltimore
  • totals 4,000 miles once completed
  • vans that follow the thirty members of the team who run relay-style
  •  each runner will have a partner and run in one mile increments
  • Each person is expected to run 10 to 13 miles a day

The communications major and sports management minor at Niagara currently runs cross-country for her school, and she participated in cross-country, outdoor track and indoor track in high school.

A couple of Mehlman’s teammates from Niagara have already donated to her cause, but she said she hopes to get more of her campus involved and raise money through fundraisers like bake sales.

“I wanted to do something after I graduated, and I wanted to do something that would help people,” Mehlman said. “This is the time to do it. I don’t have kids, and I’m not married.”

The logistics of the trip made her parents a little nervous in the beginning.

“My mom, of course, had 50,000 questions,” she said.

After they learned more about how the program worked, Mehlman said her parents were very supportive.

When they’re not running during the day, the team members will stay overnight in the van or at houses along the way. Families who have benefited from the Ulman fund or know people who run the organization volunteer to take in the 30-person team.

Mehlman is running in support of her grandfather, who has skin cancer, and her aunt, who has breast cancer and is going through radiation treatment. Her aunt works as a teacher for underprivileged children and has three young children of her own.

“She’s so positive all the time,” she said of her aunt, who posts about how well she’s doing on Facebook, allowing Mehlman to see how she’s doing while away at college.

Facing a 4,000-mile trip would be daunting to some, but Mehlman said she is more excited than nervous.

“I can’t think of a better way than to do something I love to do — running — and also get to see some pretty amazing sites and meet some incredible people.”

For more information, view Mehlman’s profile at


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