Matthew Geriak

Villa Park, CA

University of Southern California

PharmD. Pharmacy, Spring 1996

Matthew graduated with a doctorate in pharmacy from USC in 1996, completed his post-doc research residency, and is currently a Research Pharmacist with Sharp Healthcare in San Diego. He was inspired by Ron Orr to attend USC in 1987 at a time in his life where very few people gave him hope. His cancer had recurred at a higher growth rate and it was advised to have his left leg amputated. He had to drop out of the chemistry program at the University of Colorado (CU), he had to quit the CU Alpine Ski Team, and his doctor hoped that he would survive a few more years with aggressive chemotherapy. “I met Ron Orr at a Swim with Mike luncheon and he walked up to me, introduced himself, and treated me like an athlete, instead of a dying patient. He asked me when I was going to get back into training again and ski with one leg. I was stunned, but it made me think.”

Matthew later went on to training hard and competing in downhill skiing all over the world. Eventually, he was named a member of the United States Disabled Ski Team. “I remember looking out into the horizon on top of the Olympic Downhill course in France thinking I am truly on top of the world. With the strong support of my family, life seemed to transform into a snowball of opportunities since I met Ron. Life takes unexpected turns and now it is time to give back.” Matthew is now married and he and his two brothers helped to raise funds for Swim With Mike and the American Cancer Society by putting together a team to swim across the channel from Alcatraz to the mainland in 2006.