Tuba City, Ariz. — Maria Parker’s journey across the country was cut short Thursday.
With more than 2,300 miles still to go, her team was involved in an accident in which their van, supplies and Parker’s two replacement bikes were destroyed.
Early Friday morning, the Lumberton resident and her crew were trying to regroup and plan their way back home.
“She took it pretty rough,” said Carly Redfearn, a family friend who has been traveling with Parker. “She didn’t want to quit, but I think she understands now that there’s really no way to continue without her equipment, without her food and without the follow vehicle.”
A member of Parker’s crew suffered cuts and scrapes to his hands and arms, but no one was seriously injured when a car rear-ended the van at highway speeds, crushing the bikes strapped to the back of the van and the wheels stashed inside, Redfearn said.
“We’re upset that the race can’t happen, but we still want to raise as much money as we can and make as much of a difference as we can,” Redfearn said.
Parker began competing in the Race Across America on Tuesday, a nearly 3,000-mile journey from Oceanside, Calif., to Annapolis, Md., to raise money to fight cancer. She undertook the effort when her sister was diagnosed with brain cancer. As of Thursday, Parker had traveled 612 miles and climbed more than 1,200 feet.
To donate to Parker’s cause, text the word RACE to 20222 for a $10 gift. Donations also can be made at www.3000milestoacure.com/. For updates on Parker’s future plans for fundraising, visit facebook.com/3Ktwoacure or follow her on Twitter at @3000twoacure.
Abbi Overfelt works for Civitas Media as editor of The Red Springs Citizen and The St. Pauls Review.