The Brightside: SU Grad embarks on 4K journey

Recent Salisbury University graduate Anna Wagner is not wasting any time making her mark on the world. She’s taking part in an ambitious fundraising effort that will take her from San Francisco to Baltimore on foot.

“I will be flying out to San Francisco with a group of 20 other young adults and we will be running back from San Francisco, about 4000 miles together, to Baltimore,” explains Anna.

Anna says she was impacted at a very young age by cancer when her mom was diagnosed, but fortunately survived a bout with the disease. She tells 47 ABC that she didn’t understand exactly what cancer meant at the time but says it has hurt too many people in her life and she wants to put an end to the illness.

“As I started getting older, other close family members began to get cancer and things like that, so I began to be involved in the cancer community,” says Anna.

The Perdue School of Business graduate decided to take part in the Ulman Foundation’s 4-K for Cancer after one of her favorite instructors was diagnosed with the disease.

“Almost a year ago, I found out that Professor Barber, he gave me a call, was sitting around the beach and he told me that he was diagnosed with cancer. That was kinda like my last straw . . . I was like, I gotta do something and its gotta be big.”

The runners will cover between 12 to 16 miles each day over the course of 49 days. An impressive feat for someone once told her sports career was over. Anna was injured in her freshman year while playing field hockey.

“During the Fall, I actually ruptured a disk in my back and I have nerve damage down my left leg. And they told me there was chance I’d never be able to run again.”

But through rehab and determination, she returned to run again, this time for a great cause. Anna has connected with churches and other non-profits who have offered to feed and board the runners every night along the way.

“So we sleep anywhere that will be able to host 20 young adults. So we try to Google an area and see if there’s a place that will let us sleep there for the night for free.”

So far, Anna has raised almost $5000 of her $6500 goal. Overall, the run has brought in about $750,000.

When the new graduate completes her journey, she’s starting a new one, this time in sales at Lenox in Houston, Texas. Her professor, Robert Barber, says the company is getting a gem.

“She’s a person of the highest quality. Not only is he an excellent student with top grades but she’s just a wonderful person.  She’s giving, she’s considerate, compassionate. She’s a great team player. Lemme tell ya Lenox Corporation if you’re listening to this, you’re getting a star,” says Barber.

The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults raises money to fund programs like a house for young cancer patients and their families to stay in while they are treated, as well as scholarships. You can visit Anna’s fundraising page here.

Categories: Brightside, Health, Local News, Maryland

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