Join Justin Berk and his team for the 2019 Maryland Trek.
The meteorologist Justin Berk and Just In Power Kids will be hosting the annual event, which is in its sixth year raising awareness for children with cancer, honoring the lives of those we have lost because of it, and encouraging those who are suffering from it to continue fighting.
Throughout the trek, Berk said in an email interview, that he will be celebrating his recovery. When he was 14 years old, Berk was diagnosed with cancer in his left tibia, which is something that inspires him to host the trek every year.
According to Berk, this is a seven-day, 329-mile journey hiking and biking across Maryland.
He said they will start at an altitude of 3,000 feet on the summit at Wisp Resort in Western Maryland and then end in the water at the Ocean City Inlet.
“This is between Maryland’s two largest playgrounds. It is not easy, but pales in comparison to the pain some kids endure while trying to get healthy again,” Berk said. “We hope we can take them along our journey and encourage them to reach their goal of N.E.D. (No Evidence of Disease).”
Throughout the trek, they will be honoring the kids who have been suffering because of this disease. Berk explained that on the first day of the trek, they will be honoring one child, Nicholas, who was honored last year as well.
Berk said Nicholas is still working to walk and ski again, and he will be joining Berk and his team on the first day of the trek.
“It’s extra special that he will join our team on the summit of Wisp for the start of the trek on a slope he hopes to ski down one day soon,” Berk said.
This year, Berk is expecting 10 people to do the entire seven-day trek with him throughout Maryland. He is also expecting people who will be joining him and his team doing a single day or multiple days throughout the route.
“Personally, I love taking people through this challenge and watching them learn more about themselves,” he said. “We spend a lot of time learning about each other as well. All of us on the trek have become friends and extended family. Doing something like this creates a common bond. Besides, I met my wife during one trek and we got married after last year’s finish.”
Berk stated that this year they have more people involved and that he is expecting over 25 people doing the trek with him. In the route, they will also have a “support crew” of four people, who will be helping them throughout the whole week.
“Considering that I began this by myself in 2014 with one support person; this is amazing growth. It proves to me that we are doing the right thing and need to keep doing it,” Berk said.
Then on Day 4, Aug. 7, Berk and his team will be crossing Carroll County. When they arrive in Sykesville, he said, they will spend some time there to greet supporters and friends.
On Day 5, Aug. 8, Berk said that they will be hosting their second “Kids Trek Too,” where families with kids will join the team for 2 miles on the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail.
“The kids will be wearing unicorn headbands to honor the memory of Ariella Stein who we lost this last year,” Berk said.
People are welcome to follow the route of Berk and his team by visiting the website, https://marylandtrek.com/route. This interactive map will help you track the team each day.
Here is the schedule for the trek:
Aug. 4: Wisp to Cumberland
Aug. 5: Cumberland to Hancock
Aug. 6: Hancock to Frederick
Aug. 7: Frederick to Linthicum
Aug. 8: Linthicum to Annapolis, then boat to Kent Island and bike to Grasonville
Aug. 9: Grasonville to Sharptown
Aug. 10: Sharpton to Ocean City
Berk encourages everyone to donate to this cause because the proceeds will be used to provide free holistic treatments for the kids and a caregiver to help in their healing process; all of this through the organization, Just In Power Kids.
Berk said that they will also be posting videos on the website of the trek and their experience throughout the route.
“I love this Maryland Trek for so many reasons. The primary purpose is to honor kids that are enduring their journey to get healthy again. Using my platform to share their story and take people through our own physical struggle is the best way to do that,” he said.
Beyond a Year in Space
On July 24, the Mount Airy branch library will be hosting a showing of the documentary “Beyond a Year in Space: A Viewing.”
Attendees will be able to learn about the first animals that were sent to space and, Scott Kelly, the engineer and astronaut who spent an entire year in space.
The documentary studies the life of Kelly in space and will answer the questions: “How did space change him? And how can we keep future astronauts safe on long journeys to deep space and beyond?”