Joyce Saunders, Ultimate Hiker

Joyce SaundersThe Ultimate Hike is unlike any other event in that it not only challenges participants to embark on an endurance event, but to participate, they have to do something impressive for children with cancer – raise funds to help support research! Joyce’s granddaughter, Eve had battled Wilms tumor and she wanted to do something big to raise awareness and help. Ultimate Hike was the perfect event.

Being an oncology nurse, Joyce knew that many people are not aware of the prevalence of children’s cancer or of how little funding is available. She wanted to make a difference in the lives of children, like her granddaughter, who were battling cancer.

In 2011, after her daughter Christy completed her first Hike, Joyce decided to follow suit and signed up for the Ultimate Hike in Pennsylvania. She and two of her coworkers joined forces, working hard to train for the 26 mile, day-long Hike and worked even harder to raise funds for research. In 2013, Joyce decided to take on her second Hike. Four coworkers joined her, and together they became one of the highest fundraising teams to complete the Dolly Sods Wilderness Trail.

Though training for each of the Hikes was grueling, each brought together different types of people who have been affected by children’s cancer. “The Hike helps you feel like your are making a difference,” explains Joyce. “When you get to the finish line, you feel this amazing sense of accomplishment, like you have done something big.”

Joyce wishes that everyone who wants to help children like her granddaughter would consider the Ultimate Hike. The coaches and training program make something that seems daunting obtainable. Throughout the experience Joyce has seen people in her community come together in a way that she didn’t think possible.

To learn more about Ultimate Hike and how you can make a difference in the lives of children with cancer, visit

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