Grace Deetjen

Rider Profile
HometownNaperville, IL
UniversityUniversity of Illinois
View Rider Blog (13)

Hi! My name is Grace and I’m a sophomore in Bioengineering, with a minor in Spanish. I love life! I was born and raised in Naperville, Illinois, to a wonderful, loving family: my dedicated parents, my cool big brother, and the cutest puppy this world has ever seen. My family has always supported me in all the crazy things I love to do, like tennis, rock climbing, and crafts. As a student at UIUC, I have so many interests besides my major. Some organizations I’m involved in are the Biomedical Engineering Society, Engineers Without Borders – the Guatemala Water Project, Cru – a Christian ministry, and the Spanish conversation group “Mi Pueblo.” Spanish is a very important part of who I am. Last summer, I studied in Costa Rica, living with the best host family ever while fully experiencing the culture. I absolutely love to travel, especially around the United States with my family. Road trips and vacations have always been my favorite bonding experiences with my family. As far as education goes, I hope to gain a Master’s Degree in Prosthetics & Orthotics after my undergraduate with a concentration in biomechanics. This is because it is my life dream to work for Orthopets, a veterinary clinic which fits dogs and other animals with prosthetics and orthotics (braces). I’m crazily excited about what God has in store for my future!

Personal Statement

Living a blessed life, living the mentality of immortality, I thought the approaching final exams were enough stress. Then, my freshman year at Illinois, in November, my parents came to visit. They brought the words no one wanted to hear. My mom’s jaw biopsy had come back and the results were not what had been expected. Lymphoma? What is that? I wondered, tears already pouring down my face. My family stood strong in a circle and prayed. That day began her fight with cancer. It was a rare type of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma called Primary Bone Lymphoma. Being a bioengineer, I naturally researched the disease ceaselessly. It was difficult at times because I felt so distracted and fearful, not knowing what would happen to my mom. But she was not afraid and put her faith in God. She overcame the loss of her hair and the excruciating pain from the chemotherapy, the poisonous drugs pumped into her veins. She is strong. This past summer, she was declared to be in remission. Remission. That is one of many words that comes to mind when I think of my mom, perhaps because it is one of the words which evades her most. Words escape, processing is not the way it was before, and she has other physical issues, all due to the often unspoken side effects of chemo. I hate what cancer did to my mom. Yet through the darkness there is a shining light of hope. My family is closer than it ever was before. Our love for each other has been magnified because, even though the disease is evil and unfair, family comes through for each other. Skip ahead to the next chapter… at the start of sophomore year, I found out my best friend’s dad has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I didn’t even want to know what that meant, but when I found out, this deep guilt and compassion swept me off my feet. On one hand, I knew that I needed to be there for my friend and her family. I had to help her. Also, my mom has been in remission for one year. She conquered cancer. Yet there are so many people around the world who cannot say the same. On June 3, 2014, my best friend's dad passed away from this world and went to be with Jesus for eternity. I will bike for my friend’s dad. I will bike for my mom. I will bike to support people who struggle. I will shine a light brightly upon this nation to let others know that cancer is not taboo. Cancer is not something to be silent about. It must be defeated! Especially, I need to raise funds for cancer prevention. It must end at the beginning.