Ellie Spitz

espitz
Rider Profile
HometownBuffalo Grove, IL
UniversityUniversity of Illinois
MajorHDFS/Jewish Culture and Society & Sociology
View Rider Blog (10)
Biography

I am currently a Senior at the University of Illinois studying Human Development and Family Studies. I’m also working towards a certificate in leadership and two minors: Sociology and Jewish culture and society. After graduation I hope to continue to help others by becoming a psychologist or social worker. I was born and raised in my hometown, Buffalo Grove, with two amazing parents and the best two older brothers a gal could ask for. Even though they think I’m nuts for taking on this challenge their love and support is always unfaltering. When I’m not talking about I4K, studying, or in class I am usually volunteering for Camp Kesem: a student organization that I4K donates to that brought me into the world of Illini 4000. I also spend time being involved in my sorority, Alpha Epsilon Phi, and pursuing my passion of athletics. Throughout my entire life I’ve been involved in sports – you name it I’ve played it! I’ve ranged from twelve years of dance, to pick up basketball games, to intramural netball (a popular Australian sport), to competitive lacrosse and all that’s in-between. Besides sports I enjoy watching/quoting movies, rocking my sweet dance skills to music, and wearing aviator sunglasses. Soon I’ll be peddling to a town near you!

Personal Statement

Cancer knows no boundaries; its ugliness is universal; it does not discriminate based on race, gender, age religion, sexuality or background. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 1,529,560 new cases of cancer are expected to be diagnosed in 2010 alone, so it’s safe to say nearly everyone has a cancer story. Here’s mine: Skin cancer is very prevalent in my family—both of my grandmothers, my grandfather (Zadie), and my mom have been diagnosed. My other grandfather was recently diagnosed with bladder cancer, my grandmother has fought off breast cancer, and my Zadie survived a very invasive surgery for a tumor on his pituitary gland. What’s more, I lost one of my greatest mentors – Harriet Becker – to ovarian cancer. I have volunteered for Camp Kesem—a camp that provides kids whose parents have or have had cancer with a summer camp experience—and have seen the effects cancer has on young children. I have seen how strong a child can be when faced with such a complex and difficult experience. However, it breaks my heart because no one should have to feel the pain of a loved one dying from cancer. I have cut off over 15 inches of my curly hair and mailed it to Locks of Love so that someone suffering could benefit from a wig. Now it is time for me to ride across America raising awareness, empowering others, and being inspired by others who have been affected. I ride for my family, for my mentor, for Camp Kesem, for friends, for those that have fought the war of cancer and lost, for survivors, for future survivors, and for those still struggling. Every revolution on my bike is for you and your courage will be my guiding light.