• Route: Rockies
  • Ride Year: 2020
  • Hometown: Chicago, IL
  • School Year: Junior
  • Major: Biology and English

About: Hello! I'm Chris, and I'm a fourth-year Biology and English student here at UT. I'm originally from Chicago, where my two amazing parents and three rowdy siblings live (shoutout to Nick, Natalie, and Alex). I'm a member of Texas Gymnastics, and if you spend enough time around me you might witness a spontaneous backflip every now and then. I love hiking, fishing, photography, and spending time outdoors. I also speak Polish! Texas 4000 has given me an incredible opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer, and I plan to attend medical school after UT to continue in the fight. Thank you for your support! Hook 'em. 2021 UPDATE: I'm currently a first-year medical student at Loyola University Chicago working remotely while training to complete Texas 4000! Hope is alive and I'm thrilled to continue forging forward in pursuit of Anchorage!

Why I Ride

In 2018, I had the chance to visit my family in Poland, where I learned that my Grandma had recently beat melanoma, and my Grandpa was currently fighting prostate cancer. Although we don’t see each other often, I was stunned to find out that they had been battling for the past three years, without me knowing. We had talked on the phone and written letters frequently since I’d last seen them, but the topic of their cancer had never come up, and my parents had never told me. The fact that they had been suffering for all this time without me knowing shattered me. I had lived my whole life thinking my world was unaffected by cancer, but all the while my beloved Grandparents had been fighting in silence, with only each other to lean on. Growing up, it was only the people around me that had experiences with cancer, and I'd always chalked up my family's presumed immunity to our healthy habits, or maybe lucky genes. But the truth is, cancer doesn't pick favorites. Cancer does not discriminate. Cancer only hurts, steals, and ruins.

What I wish I could have done for my grandparents was to simply have been there for them. Without knowing about their cancers, there was no way for me to reach out, to comfort them, to let them know that someone was thinking about them through their pain. Not being there through their journey has weighed heavily on me, and having this opportunity now to help even one person through their pain, to inspire hope within them, is an opportunity I would be remiss in turning away. Being able to make a tangible, direct impact on even one person’s life during my time in Texas 4000 would be a success in my eyes, and with the scope of this project, I can’t imagine failure. I ride to help shoulder the burden of at least one person’s suffering, and to help lay the foundation to end cancer.

Most of all, however, I ride for hope. Not everyone has what it takes to be a Nobel Prize-winning cancer researcher. At my age, there's not a lot people can do to fight such a pervasive disease. No twenty-year-old college kid has the resources or the time to be mounting a full-fledged battle against cancer; it's just not realistic. It can be easy to believe that cancer can't be beaten, and that the most rational way forward is to let someone else figure it out. That's where Texas 4000 flips the narrative. Alone, it can be tricky to make a substantial difference, but when eighty college kids all put their heads together to accomplish one goal, suddenly there is hope. Texas 4000 is projected to surpass ten million dollars in funds raised for the fight against cancer with the 2020 team. We're no longer a group of twenty-something-year-olds without a plan. We're a team of able-bodied, driven individuals all united in the fight to end cancer. I ride for a world in which a cancer diagnosis isn't the end. I ride for hope, and I ride for a cure.