Release and Photo are courtesy of UMass Boston Athletics Communications
BOSTON, Mass.—UMass Boston men's hockey freshmen Jake Adkins (Centennial, Colo.) and Andy Walker (Mason, Mich.) have been making the most of their time during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pair, who have dubbed themselves the "Men In Blades," have planned a massive trip to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
On Monday, July 13, the Men In Blades left their on-campus apartment at UMass Boston and rollerbladed all the way to Walker's hometown in Mason, Michigan (approximately 875 miles). Their goal was to cover close to 100 miles a day, with the aim to reach Michigan in 10 days.
The Men in Blades reached Mason, Michigan on Wednesday, July 22. They completed their trip of nearly 900 miles in 9.5 days. Since they arrived in Michigan, they have been interviewed on SportsCenter and have had pieces published about their journey on CNN.com and People.com. The Men In Blades GoFundMe will stay open through the month of August.
Both athletes have been affected by cancer up close.
Adkins' mother Ali was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in spring 2014. She was in and out of the hospital for a year and was declared in remission in 2015. "It's always something that's going to hang heavy on me. It was crazy seeing my mom with no hair and trying on wigs with her. It was humbling… I'm so glad that she's still with me," said Adkins. Then this summer his best friend's mother passed from breast cancer, "so, she is extra motivation for our trip… There's all this craziness in the world, yet there's still people battling cancer. We want to bring a positive light in the darkness."
Walker's grandfather passed away from cancer when he was young, and he said the American Cancer Society was an easy choice of charity to support. "We were sitting around, not knowing what to do. Practice was off. Gyms were closed. So, we bought rollerblades," said Walker. "Our hardship on the trip will be a lot less than what people with cancer have gone through… Hopefully, this will help globally."
To learn more about the Men In Blades, learn how you can donate and learn more about their journey check out the following links:
You can also check out media coverage of the Men In Blades here:
9News Story (Denver TV Station)
200 Foot Game Podcast (Interview runs from 27:05-46:15)
People Magazine Online Story
WLNS News Story At The Finish Line (Michigan TV Station)
Boston Globe Story
JET-TV News Story (Erie, PA TV Station)
WEWS News Story (Cleveland TV Station)
WCBV News Story (Boston TV Station)
WHDH News Story (Boston TV Station)
WBX News Story (Boston TV Station)
Associated Press Story (Posted in multiple newspapers)
WLIX News Story (Michigan TV Station)
WLNS News Story (Michigan TV Station)