"The world isn't changed by those who don't do, it is changed by those who do do." - 30 Rock
I was born in Houston to a family of proud Puerto Ricans who have been endlessly supportive and astoundingly understanding. My parents have shaped me into the chipper, optimistic individual I am today by providing me with invaluable life experiences through travel, education, and by always being there for me.
If there are two things in life I couldn’t live without, they’re good food and good company. It doesn’t get much better than lying in the grass with your best friend on a sunny day, listening to music and eating a second or third snack. I love trying new foods and old foods again and again. I believe making people laugh and smile is one of the greatest gifts one can give.
I started out at the University of Texas as a vocal performance major, but after my father’s diagnosis of colon and liver cancer I decided to pursue my childhood dream of working in medicine. I hope to enrich the lives of others by spreading knowledge and doing some firsthand healing. Currently I'm working towards becoming a Physician's Assistant with a background in public health.
Now in Austin, I couldn’t ask for a better home away from home. It’s one of the most diverse and tolerant cities. There are few things more entertaining than riding through the city, seeing the eclectic assortment of hipsters, college kids (burnt orange hipsters), and old hippies (old hipsters). Until you fall–Austin’s concrete is considerably less forgiving than its people.
Fun fact: I didn’t learn to ride bike until I was nine years old.
My goal is to spread knowledge about cancer. Getting that kind of diagnosis is utterly terrifying. Perhaps understanding what it is more thoroughly will help to take the edge off. I want to understand, firsthand, the support that a community of people can provide.
Before my father’s diagnosis I had no idea how much cancer could affect a family and community. More than a year later, I still don’t feel as though I have a grasp of it. It started as nothing more than stomach pains. A month later it was cancer and diabetes. Having been at university during my father’s diagnosis, I wasn’t there for the shock and pain. I wasn’t home to witness the strength and charity of a community. I only hear of these things on the occasional visit home. My dad’s strength is carrying our family through this ordeal. Not only is he fighting a terrible disease, he is making life normal as ever. His strength seems to be without limits.
I ride for my father, an avid cyclist before his diagnosis. Now, the toll of treatment has barred him from continuing. He went from consecutive MS150s as a ride marshall to passing by his bike every day. I ride to motivate him again. I ride to help him fight so he can be a part of my life as long as possible. I ride for my family, for the community that has supported us, for the doctors and nurses. I ride for everyone who has fought this illness and everyone it has affected. I ride to spread knowledge of this disease and its prevention. I ride to understand this disease in a new way and to understand how it can bring people together in this most valiant of efforts to stop it.
On April 26, 2011 I was diagnosed with stomach cancer.
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