Mansfield Student to Bike Cross Country to Help Battle Cancer

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Tom Gristanti, a Mansfield University junior, will bike cross country this summer as part of the “4K for Cancer” program of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. He's doing it to honor his brother's recovery from cancer.

Tom Gristanti in front of North Hall.

Tom Gristanti

When the school year ends, and most of his fellow Mansfield University students head to work and possibly take summer classes, Tom Grisanti will get in his last serious training before embarking on a 70-day, 4000+ mile bike ride from Baltimore, MD to Portland, OR.

After a nationwide application and screening process, the junior from Smithtown, NY, was selected to participate in the “4K for Cancer” program of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, a non-profit organization that sanctions the ride, as well as several other events to raise money, awareness and support for young adults with cancer and their families.

While riding cross country is an adventure, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Grisanti has a personal reason for taking on this challenge.

“My older brother Lawrence fought cancer a few years ago, and he had a really good support system,” Grisanti said. “Our family was able to help him through it and a lot of other people don’t have that. Knowing that this is providing scholarship opportunities and support to those people, and that I’m doing something to help now, is really important to me.”

His brother is in remission from Hodgkin lymphoma and is doing very well Grisanti says. In fact, his reason for picking the Baltimore to Portland ride among the four cross country circuits that are offered this summer is personal too.

“He (Lawrence) lives in Portland now, so this is kind of a full circle thing for me and I wanted to see him when I finish,” Grisanti said.

While on their journey, “4K for Cancer” teams interact with host communities by visiting cancer patients, taking part in community dinners and giving cancer awareness presentations. Grisanti says he is looking forward to those opportunities when he’s not pedaling between 60 and 120 miles a day.

A Music Education major with a minor in philosophy, Grisanti says the support and encouragement he’s received from faculty and students at Mansfield has been tremendous.

“When I first got here, I wasn’t sure if I’d like it,” he said. “But the class sizes that are manageable, and the ability to really get to know professors in my major and even the general education professors--it’s so much more than I could have gotten at a big university. And then for them to validate my goals and projects with such overwhelming support is amazing. I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.”

Gristanti’s goal is to raise $8,500 on his cross-country ride and so far he has almost $3,000.

To donate, find out more about the “4k for Cancer” program, or to track Grisanti on his journey, go to

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Terry Day
Mansfield University
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