|University||University of Illinois|
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Born and raised on Gregory Ave up in Wilmette, Illinois, I liked to tell people that I had my street named after me. I spent years meandering through my neighborhood on my Gary Fisher, riding every day to my high school, even through the snow and rain. I spent those years running a lot and cycling on the side. Since I've arrived at the U of I, those hobbies have switched. I steal moments whenever I get the chance and roam around Champaign county on my Trek, and running happens quite a bit less. I found the Illini 4000 back in 2009 when I was a bright-eyed freshman studying Engineering Physics. You should have seen how quickly I jumped on the opportunity to become a part of the 2010 Bike America team. I found them on the quad way back when, and here I am now, a senior and the president of this remarkable organization. It has now been a few years since I last rode across the country, but I am again fortunate enough to have the opportunity to complete it once again, this time from the Ride Leader's position. The people I met, both on the team and across the country, have shaped me into the person I am today, and I am incredibly excited for this chance to continue giving back to this charity that means so much to me.
Just a month before my second birthday, brain cancer stole my father from me and from my family. That happened over 20 years ago, and I am still piecing together all of what that means to me. I haven't figured it all out yet, but I can tell you this: we, with the Illini 4000, are going to ride for a cure. And we acknowledge that no amount of pedal strokes will uncover an answer, so that is not why we ride. We ride because too few people know about the advances in research that lay just around the corner, just outside our current understanding. So we ride to fund forward-thinking scientists. We ride because the struggle of cancer should not be faced alone, and patient support services can mean the world to an isolated individual. We ride because cancer surrounds many people, and their commonalities should be used to unite us against the common enemy, rather than tear us apart. And we ride because we can. Many of us are college students with the opportunity of a lifetime. And though we may lack the skills necessary to directly bring about the cure, we believe that through our efforts on the bicycle, we can still make a difference.