07/24/2012 01:54 pm ET Updated Jul 25, 2012

Jenn Gibbons Assaulted During Rowing Trip For Breast Cancer: Athlete Speaks Out, Promises To Finish

Jenn Gibbons already proved she was a fighter when she began her 1,500 mile journey, rowing solo from Chicago to Michigan along Lake Michigan's perimeter to raise $150,000 for the breast cancer recovery agency she founded.

In the wake of a horrific setback she experienced during her journey, Gibbons confirmed her grit, speaking out about the incident and promising to push forward to complete her goal:

“I have always tried to be transparent and honest about the obstacles of this trip in the hope that my openness and vulnerability might give someone strength or inspiration in their fight against cancer, or in pursuing a dream," Gibbons wrote on her blog before announcing that she had been sexually assaulted on the lakefront in Gulliver, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, on Sunday.

"Regarding the trip, one thing hasn’t changed: I’ve still got this," Gibbons wrote, "But the trip plan will change in a few ways to ensure my safety."

The 27-year-old will continue part of her journey around the lake's perimeter by bike, before reuniting with her vessel, "Liv" in Muskegon, Mich. and continuing the trek on land and water, she explains on her blog.

Investigators believe the assailant traveled a significant distance to commit the assault, possibly tracking Gibbons' movements through her blog, Wood TV reports.

The suspect is described as a white male in his 30s, approximately 5’8” to 6’ tall, with a fair amount of facial stubble hair, but not a full beard nor mustache, the state police report says, according to the Battle Creek Enquirer. The man has light eyes, an average to athletic build and shorter well-kept hair. He was wearing a grayish green t-shirt, jean shorts and tennis shoes.

Police are also looking for a bright yellow Jeep Wrangler with smiley face cover on the spare tire, which was seen in the area at the time of the attack.

Gibbons was resolute on her blog that despite this setback, she's determined to keep going:

"My chin is up, my eyes are open, and we’re going to get this show back on the road (then water)."

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-656-HOPE for the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline.



Jenn Gibbons, Row4ROW