In October of 2012, Jenny Mulligan was diagnosed with brain cancer and told she would likely live 18 months to two years. Family and friends feverishly looked for treatments for brain cancer and found lots of research showing great promise, however very few of these experimental treatments seemed to make it to human clinical trials because there just wasn’t enough funding. The space between academic research and human clinical trials is rightly called “the valley of death.”
Jenny, her husband and five children.
Jenny’s sister, an endurance cyclist with four Ultramarathon World Cycling Association records including the 100 mile, 200 mile, 12 hour and 24 hour had qualified for the famous and grueling Race Across America (RAAM) many times. But it wasn’t until Jenny’s diagnosis that Maria Parker decided to compete in Race Across America in order to try to make a difference by raising money for brain cancer research. Parker and her team called the effort 3000 Miles to a Cure.
Parker finished the race first among women in 11 days and 18 hours, despite having her follow vehicle totaled and dealing with the daunting physical, mental and emotional challenges of what is widely considered one of the toughest races in the world. Race Across America staff called her race “The Most Inspirational RAAM Story Ever.”
During the race itself, Parker and team 3000 Miles to a Cure raised more than $70,000 for brain cancer research…but the real race had just begun.