Man Bikes Across Maryland for a Cause - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Man Bikes Across Maryland for a Cause

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OCEAN CITY, Md.- A Baltimore man's week-long trek across Maryland ended Saturday in Ocean City. Forty-one-year-old Baltimore meteorologist Justin Berk spent the past week walking and biking his way across the state to raise money and awareness for the "Cool Kids Campaign."

Berk started at mile 274 on Saturday, the last leg of his journey, and ended at the Ocean City Inlet. He dedicated each day to one "Cool Kids'" child who has either survived or is battling cancer. Berk completed his 312 mile journey on foot and bicycle across Maryland with many of his family and friends waiting at the finish line.

Berk was 14 when he nearly lost one of his legs to a staph infection. This week long journey was a way for him to commemorate his hard battle at such a young age. 

Berk is a numbers man, so every part of his journey was carefully planned out.  

He biked 14 miles everyday representing his age when he got sick and almost lost his leg. He hiked 27 miles for the years since he was ill. When you add them together you get 41 which is Berk's age now. Those numbers reflect his journey across the state. 

“I can't even begin to describe it's elation. I mean the numbers, the wine infused idea at a happy hour just to do this in the first place. The fact that a guy that used to stop sometimes during long distance training did this without stopping once, through blisters, and whatever pains and injuries I knew I had a focus and a goal and this was my purpose and I believe it. I'm certain of it now, I really am, " Berk said.  

Berk's been involved with the "Cool Kids" campaign for five years. Each day crossing Maryland he dedicated his ride to a different child who's survived or struggling with cancer.  

"I carried all of them on my backpack. These are the cool kids. These are the kids that are fighting some form of cancer. I carried them with me every single day. I wanted them to believe that perhaps 27 years from now they can tell a story about when they were sick,” Berk said. 

The Cool Kids weren't the only ones who joined Berk on his journey. Jennifer Jurick a seven time cancer survivor who is currently fighting breast cancer joined him for a day.  

“It's truly inspiring it really is and when I sat and talked with him I said I don't think you realize how truly inspirational you really are, because there's people that are in the fight that just need that extra push and that is you, you just do that for people," Jurick said.  

The Cool Kids campaign is a nonprofit group devoted to helping improve the lives of over 700 pediatric oncology patients, as well as their families nationwide.  

The campaign has raised almost $21,000 since Berk began his journey last week in Maryland.   


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