Graduating Senior Delays Career For Personal Quest
by Lori Fogleman, director of media relations, (254) 710-6275
While most college graduates have either found jobs or are searching for one, Baylor University's Chad Anderson has decided to delay the Peace Corps or other service work overseas to take care of a personal quest first.
In spring 2002, as Anderson was preparing to come to Waco from Ada, Mich., his mother, Sharon, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Because of early detection and treatment, she was able to win the battle against the disease and remains cancer free.
However, Anderson's concern for his mother - and the future impact breast cancer could have on his three younger sisters - inspired him to fight the life-threatening disease in his own adventurous way.
No stranger to combining a passion for serving others with cross-country ventures, the Baylor entrepreneurship graduate will put off starting his career from June to October and tackle the 2,160-mile-long Appalachian Trail to raise awareness and funds for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Anderson's journey, called "Hike For The Cure,", will begin June 4 at Mount Katahdin in Maine. He will travel through 12 states before ending his hike at Springer Mountain in northern Georgia around Oct. 18.
Anderson's website will include an online journal, photos, video, a message board and how people can give to Komen through "Hike For The Cure".
"Some people may wonder why a guy would care about a disease affecting mostly women. But how can I be close to something so terrible and not work to defeat it?" Anderson wrote in "What Matters Most" in the spring 2006 edition of Baylor Magazine. "I am a co-survivor. Although I didn't battle the disease myself, I was right beside someone who did, and I don't want my three sisters or any other woman and her family to have to go through it."
Anderson will be accompanied on the hike by Brad Kinkeade, a 2005 Baylor graduate from Irving, Texas, and Daane DeBoer, Anderson's cousin from Grand Rapids, Mich.
Like his cousin, DeBoer also has three sisters.
"I was able to witness first hand through my aunt Sharon and her family the effect that breast cancer can have not only on the person but on their entire family," DeBoer said. "This made me realize that if I could do something to help end this terrible disease, it was not only my obligation but also my privilege."
Anderson is no stranger to combining a passion for serving others with cross-country adventure.
In the summer of 2004, Anderson and another Baylor student, Drew Mitchell, completed "Bike Across America," a 3,700-mile-long journey from San Francisco to Yorktown, Va., that raised funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters. They documented their trip through an online journal (with photos) available here.
For nearly three years, Anderson, 22, has served as a "Big" to Simon, his "Little," who is now 15 and a high school student in Waco.
"It has been great for Simon because he has received what he was missing in his life, which was a male role model, and it has shown me the difference one person can make in a young person's life," Anderson said.
Anderson earned his bachelor's of business administration degree in entrepreneurship and real estate from Baylor during commencement exercises on May 13.
He can be reached at (616) 915-3527 or Chad_Anderson@baylor.edu.