Kevin Swanson

Rider Profile
HometownOak Park, Il
UniversityUniversity of Illinois
MajorEnvironmental Engineering
View Rider Blog (7)

Hello! I come from a Chicago suburb called Oak Park and love things like music, traveling, nature and having a good time. I have two older sisters (one who did the trip in 2008) and a border collie named Casey. Here at the U of I, I am a Senior studying Environmental Engineering and hope to one day provide the world with clean drinking water. I play sax in a hip hop band and djembe for African dance classes in Urbana. My freshman year, I spent my winter break with a group of students building a playground in an indigenous town in Ecuador which exposed me to another part of world I had never witnessed before. While there, I discovered the importance of helping others with all the things we have. Since then, I studied abroad in Brazil and Chile to learn the languages and am pursuing an international minor in Latin America. When I graduate in May, I hope to continue pursuing my interest in this area of the world and one day, work as an engineer providing drinking water for those who need it. In the meantime, I am extremely excited for this journey across the country and give to a cause that needs our immediate attention.

Personal Statement

Like many others on the ride, I'm not doing it for myself; I'm doing it for those who are told that they or a family member will soon pass after being diagnosed with cancer. I have been fortunate enough so far that neither myself nor any family member has been diagnosed with cancer. However, I feel as I am a minority. In junior high school alone, I remember my mother recounting memories with a family friend who had passed as well as attending the funeral of a best friend's mother. More recently, a friend has been telling me of her family’s struggle to constantly fly over-seas to visit a loved one in the hospital. According to the World Health Organization, despite our research and efforts to better diagnose and cure cancer, it remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide. I believe that if we are able to better fund research and public education initiatives, the cancer rates could significantly decrease. However, it takes action to create change which is I why I find myself pedaling across the country.