Catherine Kemp

Rider Profile
HometownArlington Heights, IL
UniversityUniversity of Illinois
MajorNatural Resources and Environmental Sciences
View Rider Blog (2)

Hi! My name is Catherine Kemp and I'm currently a senior studying environmental science and Spanish at the University of Illinois. I grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, but Champaign-Urbana has come to feel like a second home to me. What comes next for me after this summer is a bit of a question mark, but I hope to work in the environmental non-profit sphere and pursue a graduate degree in the near future (with lots of traveling in between.) The Illini 4000 has undoubtedly been one of the most important and formative parts of my college experience. I rode across the US with the 2013 Bike America team and have been involved with the organization ever since as a member of the Portraits Project board and the current Director of Portraits Project. I'm absolutely thrilled to serve as one of the Ride Leaders for the 2016 team and I cannot wait for this new journey to start.

Personal Statement

There's this terrible sense of helplessness that I feel whenever I hear about another cancer diagnosis, another bad round of treatment, another family in mourning. So I choose to combat that feeling the best way I know how--fundraising, cycling, spreading awareness, listening to people's stories through the Portraits Project, supporting people as much as I am able. Initially, my own personal experiences motivated me to bike across the country with the Illini 4000. I absolutely still ride in memory of my Papa, Charlie Kemp; my dear friend Shea; Dan Norman; Joe Marconi; S. Kathy Christenson; Jody Endres; and other loved ones who left us too early. But if there's one thing I've learned from my experience with the Illini 4000, it's that cancer is universal--it's bigger than our individual stories. So I also ride in honor of all of the courageous people out there who have fought against cancer in one way or another. I firmly believe that there will be a day when a cancer diagnosis is no longer reason for dread and I am so proud of the work the Illini 4000 has done thus far to support research to reach this goal. In the meantime, it's imperative that we also focus on providing cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, and family members with the support they need. I am honored to be part of this special organization that revolves around both parts of the fight against cancer.