Catholic University coach killed while biking for cancer

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A staff member at Catholic University died Friday night while on a charity bike ride in Kentucky. Now, her family and friends are helping her finish her journey.

Twenty-four-year-old Jamie Roberts was a native of Rockville, but was on staff at Catholic University where she was also the assistant coach for the women's basketball team.

Roberts was on a bike ride with about 30 other people raising money for the Ulman Cancer Fund by riding from Baltimore to Portland. The group was in Scott County, Kentucky, just outside of Lexington, when Jamie was hit and killed by a truck.

The 4K For Cancer fundraiser was a cross-country going from Baltimore to Portland. The benefit lasted 70 days and 4,000 miles. The Ulman Cancer Fund coordinates the ride.

Her friends are helping her continue her journey, with a movement called "Miles for Jamie." Jamie's friends from college started the Facebook group - encouraging people to bike, walk or run for Jamie, to finish the more than 4,000 mile journey to Portland.

"She was just always the most positive fun loving person. I want people to remember that no matter what situation she was always able to make it a good time. When I think of Jamie I think about her positive side, but also her goofy side," says Allie Scott, a friend of Jamie.

"The cause is to spread awareness for cancer, that sums Jamie up. She was always up for a challenge especially one that had such a rewarding impact on other people. She's the first person always willing to do whatever it took to help someone else," says Jackie Killebrew, a friend who started the Facebook page.

"It's comforting in a way to know there is something we can do for Jamie, something she felt strongly about," says Scott.

The Roberts family says anyone wishing to make a donation should do so to the Ulman Cancer Fund in Jamie's honor here:”

Catholic University released the following statement:

Jamie Roberts, a staff member and assistant coach in the Catholic University Athletics Department, was killed Friday in an accident while riding her bike across country in support of cancer research. Roberts was the assistant sports information director and an assistant coach of CUA's women's basketball team for the past three years.

She was travelling in Scott County, Kentucky with a group affiliated with the Ulman Cancer Fund when she and another rider were struck by a truck traveling along U.S. 25 N. The group of five cyclists had stopped while Roberts changed a tire on her bike according to a report by the Georgetown News-Graphic. Roberts was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The other rider sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

CUA Athletic Director Sean Sullivan said Roberts will be remembered for "her caring nature, considerable warmth, subtle sense of humor, and consistent thoughtfulness."

"It came as little surprise to anyone who knew Jamie when she quietly revealed how she had taken up the daunting challenge of riding her bike some 4,400 miles from Baltimore to Portland to contribute to improving the quality of life for others," Sullivan said. "With little fanfare, she took on this remarkable physical and emotional quest because she felt as though others were in need and she could help. She also displayed these selfless qualities each and every day we were fortunate enough to work with her."

Roberts, was a native of Rockville, Md. She graduated in 2011 from St. Mary's College of Maryland where she majored in economics and excelled as a three-sport athlete. She played lacrosse, and was captain of the soccer and basketball teams She was a member of the Capital Athletic Conference All-Academic Team and was named to the All-CAC Second Team for her outstanding contributions on the basketball court.

"Jamie was an incredible mentor to our young women and friend to us all," said Matthew Donohue, CUA's head women's basketball coach. "In typical Jamie fashion, she was spending her summer dedicating herself to assisting others who have been dealt some very challenging life hurdles."

Donohue said Roberts focused on player development and academic monitoring. "She worked with our girls on the court to help them build their fundamental skills, while also working with them off the court to connect them with peer tutors, academic workshops, and the like," he said.

Roberts is survived by her father, Robert; mother, Julia; brother, Will; and sister, Julia. Information about funeral arrangements is not yet available.

In a message to athletic department staff and members of the women's basketball team, the CUA athletic director wrote: "In moments such as these, we find strength in our faith and sense of community. These are two such reasons as to why the CUA community is so special. Jamie Roberts contributed greatly to creating the wonderfully caring campus that we all enjoy daily. She will be deeply missed and will continue to serve as the strongest of reminders as to how we can intentionally choose to lead our lives for the betterment of others."


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