Jason Hempstead

Rider Profile
HometownBloomington, IL
UniversityUniversity of Illinois
MajorPhysics with a minor in Mathematics
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My name is Jason Hempstead. I am a senior majoring in physics with a minor in mathematics. Because of the nature of my parents’ jobs, I have lived in several places across Illinois and the United States. Starting from an early age, I have enjoyed both volunteerism and team athletics. I was formerly a varsity rower for the university's team. I am very active in undergraduate research. I enjoy learning new things and trying to understand the fundamental nature of the universe. I cannot think of a better way to spend my summer than to travel across the country supporting Illini 4000’s noble mission of raising money for research and learning the stories of people whose lives have been touched by cancer.

Personal Statement

One of the most influential people in my life was my grandmother. She taught me to love baseball and the Cardinals. She instilled in me a passion for learning, especially mathematics and science. When I was in fourth grade, she started going to the hospital more. I did not understand this, and my parents tried to convince me everything was okay. At the time, it was. A small growth was removed, and she could continue her normal life. Soon after, however, my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer. After enduring the treatment and wearing a surprisingly good wig, our family thought everything was okay. Alas, the cancer had spread to her lymphatic system. Treatment continued, and we started to realize that nothing was going well. The cancer eventually spread to her brain. The hardest conversation I have ever had with someone was the night I called my grandmother a few weeks before she died, but she did not remember me. Ever since, I have tried to act in a way that would make her proud. She drives me to continue fighting against cancer. Everyone has some connection to cancer’s effects. It is important for everyone to keep searching for an effective treatment to give hope to those currently enduring their own battles. Illini 4000 is a great way of spreading hope and providing help to hopefully eliminate the suffering for posterity.