- Route: Sierra
- Ride Year: 2017
- Hometown: Flower Mound
- School Year: Sophomore
- Major: Finance
- Email: KeetonSchenck@gmail.com
Hello! My name is Keeton Charles Schenck, and I am a sophomore at The University of Texas at Austin. I was born in Flower Mound, Texas to my incredible parents, Shelley Condon and Charles Schenck, and also raised by my supportive step-dad, Craig Condon.
One year on the 40-acres has taught me a lot about myself – I love anything served at brunch, Whole Foods marketing works on me, and I’m really bad at Calculus. I am studying Finance and am applying to the Humanities Program to study Political Economics.
Why I Ride
Cancer is ubiquitous. I spent the first 18 years of my life listening to survivor stories play out in the media, watching St. Jude’s fundraising commercials, and hearing about the diagnosis of someone my family vaguely knew. I knew about the disease and the pain it causes those affected. I knew ‘cancer sucks’ and that we should race for a cure and fight for a cancer-free future.
However, my relationship with the disease changed two weeks before Christmas of my senior year – it got personal. My grandma, Linda Goff, a woman who had already won the fight against cancer over a decade ago, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer. It had metastasized in her back, crushing her spine with over a dozen small tumors.
Several days after Christmas, she endured an eight-hour surgery that fused her spine and a titanium rod to keep vertebrae from collapsing. The surgery was successful; she was admitted to an intensive recovery facility. After weeks away from home, she was discharged and began a strict regimen of physical therapy to relearn how to walk and regain strength. The surgery, along with radiation treatment, have fortunately made her disease manageable. Although she will never be completely cancer-free, she refuses to let this alter the way she views the world. My grandma continues to face each day with the same headstrong attitude that has always been, and will always be, her defining characteristic.
My grandma serves as a model of a confident, strong, and independent woman. Her compassion and tenacity, coupled with innate willpower, have shaped the person I aspire to be. Biking across the continent in her name is the greatest gift I could give. I want her to see the end result of a cause she has set in my heart.
I also ride for two incredible individuals: my grandfather, Charles Schenck, and my aunt, Shannon Freeman.
My grandfather was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in the 2012. He successfully eradicated the cancerous cells through innovative proton therapy. I am happy to say that my grandfather is healthy. He still speaks with the same Utahan drawl and adds a bolo tie to every outfit.
My aunt was diagnosed with Stage 3 non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in the summer of 2013. She continues to fight cancer through a combination of alternative treatments, traditional chemotherapy, and a stem cell transplant. Aunt Shannon has always been a light; she arrives at every family event with warm energy and bright smile. She is strong. She is a fighter.
I ride for my family.