LiveStrong Riders

Post date: Nov 14, 2008 4:34:17 PM

The crew team has been producing extremely successful graduates to the world and beyond since we were established in 1986. But the alumni highlighted below are a group of alumni who have really gone above and beyond to help their friends, their families and millions of other people they will never meet. And they get together to do this each year because of the bond they shared while at Georgia Tech, one that would never have blossomed if it weren't for their shared time on the crew team. Rowing is a very difficult and demanding sport - both for your body and your time. The GTCA Affinity Group believes that the dedication to excellence, the passion for healthy bodies and the strength of a team are things that are instilled in every student that rows with Georgia Tech Crew. And it is something that stays with you, long after you graduate. The following group of alumni prove just that and have inspired us with their story - which is why we are choosing to share it with you.

Who are the alum?

In 2008, the participants were:

Bobby O’Keefe: INTA 2000

Jonathan Snow: ME 2000

Jeremy Mucha: EE 1999

Liz Hildick: IE 2000

David Jimenez: MGT 2002

In 2007, the group also included:

Mark Filer: 2000

Jacob Gelbaum: INTA 2002

Where are they now?

Bobby O’Keefe: US Air Force, C-130 Navigator, Abilene, Texas

Jonathan Snow: US Navy, Arms Trafficker, Arlington, Virginia

Jeremy Mucha: Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific, San Diego, CA

Liz Hildick: Percentix, Inc., Senior Consultant, Denver, Colorado

David Jimenez: 9Star Research, Project Manager, Austin, Texas

This is their 2nd year of doing the LiveStrong Charity Ride in Austin, Texas. They were required to raise money individually and then ride 90 miles on their bikes. Below you will find a few descriptions of the event from the participants.

Thoughts from Jeremy Mucha: The original plan was just to “get the band back together again.” We were out of Tech since 2000 or so, and needed an excuse to reunite. We are all ex-rowers from GT Crew and most of us had gotten in to riding or racing bicycles. So, the idea of all getting together for a fun reunion weekend focused around a charity bike ride sounded truly appointed. We ate *a ton* of BBQ. As time went on, though, we all started thinking more about the way that cancer affects all of us. My personal inspiration is David Reid, the father of one of my best friends from high school. He was a 2nd father to me and he was battling cancer since 2005. In 2007, he was really glad to hear that I was doing the LiveStrong ride. They had this great little editorial cartoon on their fridge of Lance winning his 7th tour and how it was a great achievement in sport, but an even greater inspiration to those battling cancer. Anyway, Mr. Reid passed away at the end of 2007. He fought so hard for years, but then was finally cut down at only 51 years old. That put the 2008 ride in a bit of a different light. I honestly just wanted to be a part of the “LiveStrong Army” and raise cancer awareness and funding. I hope we can do an even bigger and better job next year.

Thoughts from Bobby O’Keefe: Honestly, this ride started as an excuse for several GT Crew Alumni to get together after several years of being out of school and out of touch. I hadn't ridden a bike since jutting around campus to & from class until we decided to do the 2007 Austin Challenge. After raising the required amount & riding the 45-miler, I was hooked on biking. I also felt this was a worthy cause to fight a disease that affects most people, directly or indirectly, and that I have the means raise money & awareness with the backing of a name recognized worldwide in Lance Armstrong. Now I have my own bike, trained to get in riding shape for about 6 months, and just completed the 2008 90-miler. Between last year & this year, I've raised about $750 given by about 20 people in support or memory of 13 cancer survivors/victims. Personally, my grandpa died in 1991 from prostate cancer and a family friend, Connie Magwood, died a couple years back from breast cancer. I enjoy riding, I look forward to getting together with the fellas at least once a year, and feel we're doing something to benefit more than just ourselves. It doesn't hurt that there's plenty of Texas barbeque involved, either.

Thoughts from Liz Hildick: This is my second time doing the LiveStrong ride to benefit LAF. I'm doing the ride because I love to ride my bike, and because I want to do everything I can to stop the spread of cancer and the pain it inflicts on all the lives it contacts. I raised a little money last year for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, and this year I raised more than that. My very good friend Kathy was diagnosed with lung cancer of the type Dana Reeves and many other non-smokers have died from. Well, Kathy (*one lung down*) has beaten the odds for 2 years now! Last year at her insistence, I joined the ride and ~ more importantly ~ the cause. I want to do everything I can to stop the disease, find ways of curing it, ways of lessening what people like Kathy have to go through when they have it. The Lance Armstrong Foundation unites people to fight cancer, believing that unity is strength, knowledge is power, and attitude is everything.

Thoughts from Jonathan Snow: I've had eight family members, friends, and/or co-workers to be diagnosed with cancer in the past 5 years. My original inspiration for the Austin ride was simply just to get together with the fellas for a phat ride and to eat mass quantities of BBQ; after pondering the fundraising requirements a bit, I decided that to do this in honor of my sister, a three-time cancer survivor and mother of two awesome daughters, and everything she's been through. I thought it a fitting tribute to her ordeals that I try to pump up the fundraising as much as possible. I thought of her a lot leading up to the trip and during the ride, both years, and am pleased to have raised a significant amount in honor of her. Moving forward and thinking beyond my personal connection to cancer, it's inspiring to be around the survivors and supporters who clearly don't ride much, but who decide to go hardcore for the 90-miler in memory/honor of loved ones or to put a black-eye on the memories of their own trials. That they are out there pumping it up, and that cancer survivors gain great benefit from Lance's foundation, makes me want to do this again in the future.