Big appetites in the Big Apple

The team’s first full day in the Big Apple entailed meet and greets, subway rides, and FOOD. To start the day we headed from our stayover in Brooklyn to Manhattan to meet with the folks at Daymon Runyon, a cancer research group. Damon Runyon is unique because they target researchers in the early stages of their careers where it is usually hard to get funding from other sources. We learned that they award funds to around 10% of their applicants, similar to the acceptance rates of Ivy League universities.

From browsing their newsletter I learned that Illini 4000 was a donor in the range of $50,000 to $100,000 in the previous year. Our research fellow gave us an overview of the work that he does, describing what it is like to be on the chemical side of cancer research.

From there, some of the team ventured through the lower East side doing a ‘food tour’ (think doughnuts, pickles, and sesame pancake sandwiches) with an I4k alum while the rest of the team explored Wall St and met up with friends.

Later in the day came our brush with fame when we were invited to a fundraising dinner for mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City, attended by members of the Muslim community. Our meeting with him was organized through the host of our stayover, who happened to be childhood friends with de Blasio. To my surprise Bill was an extremely tall (6’5”), down to Earth, and funny guy. After giving him our elevator spheel he seemed very impressed, and wished us luck on the ride.

We arrived back to Brooklyn and were offered even more food from our gracious hosts, which consisted of traditional Indian samosas. After our snack the team assumed the normal routine of the ride which consisted of pumping bike tires, getting bike apparel ready, and setting up sleeping bags to prepare for a 5:45 AM wake up call and a 63 mile day.

Stay tuned


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