Why I Ride: Alex Massey

Name: Alex Massey

Major: Political Science

Year of Ride: 2012

 

I first heard about Illini 4000 in the booklet Illinois sends all accepted students. I thought it was the most amazing adventure I’ve ever heard of; it still is. The directors seemed so encouraging and the entire idea was so crazy I couldn’t say no.
I learned so much from my experience. There’s something about pulling your team through a hard day that sticks with you. I remember biking through the Columbia River Gorge, something I would not recommend to anyone, and thinking that my team was counting on me, that I couldn’t let them down. That part of the ride really made me think of others much more in just about everything I do and has made me a much more team-oriented person.
Hearing stories from those affected by cancer also definitely changed my perspective of the disease dramatically. Interviewing those who had been through so much pain and loss really put a personal touch to the statistics behind cancer that you hear from so many organizations and in the news, at least for me, and made me consider how universal the experience can be. That definitely made the cause more personal to me.
I also witnessed generosity on an unbelievable scale, from people just donating at gas stations to stayovers providing entire meals to smelly, sweaty bikers just trying to do good. The ride changed my view of people in a pretty dramatic way.

 

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