Why I Ride: Tory Cross

Name: Tory Cross
Major: Neuroscience
Year of Ride: 2012

I first saw I4K in a brochure during my senior year of high school, and then again I ran into the 24 Hours of Cycling while I was visiting for a U of I admitted student day, and then it was the first organization I saw on quad day. It was basically fate. The bike thing was cool to me, but the impact it has on cancer was more important.

Whenever I describe I4K to anyone, I describe it as something that built me. There’s nothing quite like dealing through the mental struggle of climbing up mountains, fighting through headwinds, or eating the same thing every day for 74 days. While the ride itself had a huge impact on the way I approach life (always keep moving!), all of the portraits that I conducted changed my views on essentially everything that I do. Portraits taught me how important it is to take two steps back when the world gets crazy, and evaluate the things that really matter. That mentality caused a huge change in my leadership style, and even the way that I approach my classwork. I stopped being quite so concerned with the tiniest things, and saw that my fretting about the minuscule got in the way of everything else.

I4K showed me what I want to be. Before my ride, I had some idea that I was maybe going to work in medicine, and the people I met during I4K totally changed that. Because of both my team and the people I met along the way, I realized that patients with cancer need more than just a doctor or just medicine. They need someone to listen, and to hold their hands. Thanks to I4K, I think I have the capability to do that, and I want to help fight cancer as a physician’s assistant in oncology. The fight and struggle that is I4K prepares people for life in a way that no one really expects, and it’s really wonderful.

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