Men in Blades

Andrew Walker (left) and Jacob Adkins, hockey players at the University of Massachusetts, are rollerblading from Boston to Michigan to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

A pair of college hockey players will be rollerblading their way through the area today in the hopes of raising money for the American Cancer Society.

Andrew Walker and Jacob Adkins, University of Massachusetts Boston roommates and hockey players, are rollerblading their way to Michigan as part of an 875-mile journey from Boston to Mason, Mich., near Lansing.

Their journey began on July 13 at the pair’s campus in Massachusetts. Since then, they’ve ridden roughly 100-150 miles per day.

Today, they’ll begin in Blossburg before riding through Sweden Valley in Potter County until eventually stopping for the evening in Smethport. Saturday, they’ll depart McKean County and finish out at Meadville.

The idea came to the duo when their hockey practices and daily life at college were halted due to Covid-19. In order to keep up with their conditioning, each of the two bought a pair of rollerblades.

Eventually, that gave way to the idea of a cross-country trip. Though that trip around the states proved to be unviable, the two decided to at least make it to Michigan with the hopes of raising money and shedding some positive news during a difficult time.

The cause is also close to each participant’s heart. Adkins’ mother, Ali, was diagnosed in 2014 with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and spent a year going in and out of the hospital before being declared in remission in 2015.

“It’s always something that’s going to hang heavy on me,” Adkins said in a press release. “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.”

This summer, Adkins’ best friend lost his mother to breast cancer.

“She’s extra motivation for our trip,” he said. “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 lost his grandfather to cancer when he was young, and so the American Cancer Society was a clear choice of charity to help once the idea was hatched.

“We were sitting around, not knowing what to do. Practice was off; gyms were closed. So we bought rollerblades,” he explained. “Our hardship on the trip will be a lot less than what people with cancer have gone through. Hopefully, this will help globally.”

To donate to the pair’s cause, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/blade-ferdarona.

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