Sarah Hidder

Rider Profile
UniversityUniversity of Illinois
MajorNatural Resources and Environmental Sciences
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Hello! My name is Sarah Hidder and I am a senior at the University of Illinois studying Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences with a concentration in Resource Conservation and Restoration Ecology. I was born and raised in Wilmette, Illinois, a north east suburb of Chicago. I grew up in a family of six kids (including myself), so life at home has always been hectic, but I love being surrounded by lots of activity. I have been involved in athletics for most of my life, starting with soccer in the third grade. In high school I played both basketball and lacrosse, and I also was very involved in my school’s outdoor adventure program. I loved high school and had many great experiences during that time, and I can definitely say the same for college. I started college in the fall of 2008, and the past three years at the University of Illinois have been some of the best years of my life. I have played on the Illinois Women’s Lacrosse club team since my freshman year, and I absolutely love being part of that team. During my sophomore year I went on an Alternative Spring Break trip to West Virginia, where I had the opportunity to help renovate houses in a poverty-stricken community, and also participate in an after school program for children in that community. In the spring of my junior year I was lucky enough to study abroad in Aberdeen, Scotland. During my time abroad I was able to travel around Europe, and I learned a ton about other people and other cultures. I am currently trying my best to just enjoy my final year at U of I, while also figuring out what I want to do once I enter the real world! The Illini4000 is the perfect way to end my college experience, and I am so excited to be a part of such an amazing organization!

Personal Statement

My first experience with cancer was when I was in fourth grade. My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Valamis, had been battling cancer for a number of years. Although I was only ten years old when I knew her, Mrs. Valamis was one of the strongest and most influential people I’ve ever met. Toward the end of the school year, her cancer went into remission and she was doing very well. She was healthy for a while, but two years later her cancer came back and this time she lost her fight with the disease. When I was a junior in high school, my lacrosse team ‘adopted’ a little girl named Ainsley who was battling a rare form of brain cancer to our team. She supported us during our games, and we supported her in any way we could. She was only eight years old, but she was fighting for her life. Watching her struggle made me realize that cancer doesn’t discriminate; its victims could be a 45 year old school teacher or an eight year old child, or even you or me. This ride is so important because it draws awareness to the scope and severity of the impacts of cancer, but is at the same time a ray of hope in the fight against it. With every dollar that is raised and every victim or survivor’s story that is told through the Illini4000, we move one step closer to finding a cure.