Michell Eloy

Rider Profile
HometownDecatur, IL
UniversityUniversity of Illinois
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I was born and raised by my two wonderful parents in Decatur, IL, a small city about an hour west of Champaign-Urbana. I’m 22 years old (retirement age for competitive figure skating. Sad, I know), and by the time this ride starts, I will hopefully have graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in news-editorial Journalism and minors in both Spanish and International Studies. I couldn’t have asked for a better family, a fiercer sister or more wonderful friends. Despite the fact that they all think I’m a little crazy for doing this, they’ve all got my back, and I couldn’t be more grateful for their support. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been involved in sports. I played soccer and basketball all through high school, and though I didn’t continue on the athletic route in college, I still like exercising and pushing myself. In my spare time, I enjoy writing, reading, photography, listening to music (probably louder than recommended), Mexican food and traveling. I’ve been lucky to visit some awesome places, journeying by planes, trains, boats, cars and foot to get there. Next up: journey by bicycle. Let the adventures begin.

Personal Statement

According to the American Cancer Society, one in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, and more than 1,500 Americans die every day from the disease. Given the prevalence of cancer in this country, chances are that every person in the U.S. has somehow been affected by it, either directly or indirectly. That means every one of us has at some point experienced the doubt, the pain and the fear that results from the phrase “you have cancer.” I am by no means an exception. Cancer has weaved itself in and out of my life, affecting both members of my family and very close friends. Ten years ago, my grandmother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Five years ago, my high school Spanish teacher battled with breast cancer not once, but twice. And three years ago, a very close family friend—almost a second mother to me—also faced breast cancer. And I’m one of the lucky ones, as all of these strong women found the disease early enough, successfully underwent treatment and survived. I know that, in this case, I am an exception, as so many people in my life have lost parents, grandparents, mentors and friends to cancer. I’ve seen the pain they and their families went through, and if there’s something I can do to prevent that in the future, then that’s what I’m going to do. That’s why I’m riding across the country—from New York City to San Francisco—this summer. I’m riding to raise cancer awareness and knowledge in the hopes of educating people about the prevalence of cancer. I’m riding for the people in my life who’ve been impacted by the disease, for my grandma, for Ms. Caudill, for Zada, for a friend who experienced the loss of a close friend entirely too soon to leukemia, and for another very close friend who just lost a family member to pancreatic cancer this year. I’m doing it for them and for everyone else who has ever faced the disease. Their struggles will power each and every rotation I force my tires to make. Their courage will give me the strength I need to do it. I truly believe there’s a cure out there, and I want to say I was a part of it.