Biking for a cause


A former Leander ISD student plans to bike the more than 4,000 miles from Austin to Anchorage, Ak, this summer to raise funds for cancer research and support services. 

Maria Krychniak, a 2015 graduate of Vandegrift High School, is now a fourth-year honors mathematics major at the University of Texas who says her mission is rooted in family. 

She never got to know her grandfather Luis, who died from prostate cancer before Maria was born. Her aunt, Luisa, passed away from breast cancer. 

“This might seem like something crazy to do, but this cause is incredibly important to me,” said Maria. “I have witnessed myself feel helpless and hopeless when it comes to comforting some of my best friends and family members left in cancer’s destructive wake.”

The biking mission is a part of Texas 4000 for Cancer, which Maria says is built on, “hope for a better future in which we are no longer afraid of cancer.” 

Her parents, who live in Steiner, are her biggest supporters. Her dad, Piotr, is originally from Warsaw, Poland, and her mom, Luisamari, is originally from Maracaibo, Venezuela.

“My parents worked extremely hard to build a life for our family,” Maria said. “I was brought up trilingual and cherish all aspects of my unique heritage and culture.”

Her sisters, Nathalia and Aleksandra, are also an inspiration in the Texas 4000. While at Vandegrift, Maria played volleyball. 

Maria’s personal goal is to raise $9,000 for cancer research, cancer support services, and Texas 4000’s mission of spreading hope, knowledge and charity.

“I have seen how cancer can tear people apart, but I have also seen how cancer can bring people together,” Maria said.

Maria and her family believe she’s the first Steiner Ranch-area resident to participate in the Texas 4000 to Alaska, and they hope she’ll receive support from the community for her efforts.

“If you have anyone in your life that has been affected by cancer that you would like me to ride for, please feel free to reach out to me,” she said. 

Email maria_krychniak@utexas.edu for more information.