OCEAN CITY – An emotional, six-month journey ended Saturday for the Miles 2 Give team, which capped off its cross-country run in Ocean City and raised almost $100,000 for Sarcoma Cancer research.
Early on Saturday morning Landon Cooper, Ryan Priest and John McKay started running about 10 miles out to end at the Atlantic Ocean off N. Division Street. A group of friends, family and fans joined the three at the Route 50 Bridge coming into the resort to finish their amazing journey. Upon arriving to the Atlantic Ocean, Cooper, Priest and McKay put their arms over each other’s shoulders and fell into the cold water ending their mission.
It all began on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 2013 when the Miles 2 Give (M2G) team began their journey at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and 157 days later they had run 3,187 miles across country.
Cooper, 34, is the founder of M2G. The M2G tour, “Pursuit to Give & Inspire”, will donate funding raised to Sarcoma Foundation of America to create the “Ashley Davis Grant.”
On Nov. 28, 2009, Cooper’s good friend, Ashley Davis, was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma Cancer. Through many promising ups and downs, she eventually lost her battle and died on April 6, 2011 at the age of 23.
Along the way, the M2G team visited schools, hospitals, hosted events/fundraisers and met with town locals to raise awareness. Cooper had set the goal to raise $100,000 for Sarcoma Cancer research in partnership with Sarcoma Foundation of America, who will distribute all the funding raised as a 501c3 organization, and that goal has been accomplished.
Cooper began as the sole runner on the M2G team while the others supported him for the M2G Winnebago documenting the entire journey along the way until Tour Director Ryan Priest and Videographer John McKay joined the run to support Cooper and the cause. They would run anywhere from a marathon up to 40 miles every day.
“We have been through things that are beyond any story, any movie or any imagination and all of those things have been parallel … to everybody’s fight we have dedicated this tour,” Cooper said on Saturday. “Across this country there have been many moments you have never seen. There have been many pictures and videos that you have never seen. There have been so many moments of tears, random prayer circles, Starbucks and gas stations. Everything about this tour has never been about us, it is about who we do it for, and everything about this tour has been such a symbol that this was never in our hands.”
Cooper furthered the many families M2G had met along the way will never be forgotten, and they will be forever grateful to every stranger and police officer who knocked on their RV’s door in the middle of the night to check on them, and to the farmers who sang them a song to lift their spirits, and to those who shared their stories of loss.
“At the end of the day, we have all experienced loss somehow some way. We either react to it or respond to it. We chose to respond. That response has created almost $100,000 for Sarcoma Cancer research,” Cooper said. “This disease is so rare and scientists are still trying to figure out what exactly Sarcoma is, as are we. We are learning directly from those who are carrying this awful disease. We are learning from those families who have lost members … we went to every door across the country to hear the stories of the Sarcoma warrior families because of that we hold many truths but it is nothing that we will ever boast about but something we will always honor.”
Priest recalled running along the loneliest highway in America, Hwy. 50 in Nevada, conquering the Rocky Mountains, running through tornadoes, lightning storms, corn and cattle fields, the midlands, his home town in Chicago, over the Appalachians, and through the country’s capital, Washington D.C.
“And we are here in Ocean City, Md., and this is absolutely amazing,” he said. “It has been such an honor to be part of this journey.”
McKay had joined M2G just the night before takeoff back in February and met Cooper and Priest for the first time that day.
“We know there have been other hands guiding us this entire time. We felt the love. We have not been alone on that bus one night this entire journey. We feel so honored to have been able to meet all the great folks we have met and spend time at a lot of the hospitals we went to, stay over at folks houses and to have dinner with people that were just random and met on the side of the road or folks who have been following us online. It is a really, really special thing for all of us,” he said.
The ceremony was ended by everyone connecting hands in one last prayer circle.
“I want to give a dear thank you to the lovely city of Ocean City for opening your doors and hearts to three strangers that look like total hippies right now, so thank you Ocean City,” Cooper said.