Conor Canaday

Rider Profile
HometownChannahon, IL
UniversityUniversity of Illinois
View Rider Blog (22)

I am currently a Junior at the University of Illinois studying psychology with a concentration in social/ developmental psychology. My hometown lies near the suburbs of Chicago where I was born and raised. Even after the years I have spent at school, I still do and hope to always call Channahon my home. It was there that I developed my values and principles that brought me this far in life. Channahon was also where I spent my childhood riding my bike from place to place, a habit that initially led me to the Illini 4000. When I am not spending time in class or studying, I keep myself busy with student organizations such as the Illini 4000 for Cancer. I also spend time working at U of I's counseling center as a paraprofessional and am currently an active member of International Impact, a student run organization that aids foreign countries in need. I always enjoy spending time in these organizations as well as helping out in the community whenever I can. After graduation I hope to continue to help others in the field of counseling psychology, wherever that may take me. I am one of the few lucky riders this year to have already completed the Illini 4000 route in 2009. Last summer was a life changing experience for myself, as well as for the other riders on the team. The ability to come in contact with so many inspiring individuals across the country is an opportunity I will cherish for the rest of my life. I was able to see first-hand how cancer affects everyone, and to spread awareness for the cause of our ride. I consider myself very fortunate to have the opportunity to help out with the 2010 ride this upcoming summer.

Personal Statement

I ride for the family and friends of all the donors. Each person has their own story and unfortunately everyone knows someone affected by cancer. I know that our ride is only a part of the fight against cancer, but I will do whatever I can to spread awareness of our cause and to continue the fight. As we pass through mountains and plains, extreme heat and extreme cold, I will continue to ride each day in memory of those who have had the misfortune of being affected by cancer. Last year, while preparing and training for the ride, my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. Having fought and survived WWII, I had no doubt that he would triumph over the disease. Unfortunately, after undergoing intensive chemo treatments and after he rid his body of cancer, my grandfather passed away. I know that he would be proud of me as I prepare for the upcoming trip, and I will think of him often during the hardest days. I often think of a quote by Mahatma Gandhi, "Be the change you want to see in the world." This summer I hope to inspire the people I meet along the trip to join our fight against cancer. I believe that together we can do anything, but you have to start somewhere.