I was born in Houston, TX on July 23, 1991 to two ballroom dance teachers who owned and operated the largest social dance studio in the city. Without a doubt, my love for people and my passion for creating joy came directly from watching the hope and happiness my parents fostered in a place where folks from all backgrounds with varying life circumstances came together once or twice a week to simply learn the art of ballroom dancing. It's amazing how such a simple thing can bring so much good to so many people.
I attended Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart all fourteen years of my primary education, and graduated along with fifty-three brilliant young ladies in 2009. While attending Duchesne, I developed a deep love for social justice and the concept of taking action within your community to create real change. When I first got to college and heard about Texas 4000, I knew it was something that mirrored these exact ideas, and that I would have to do it before I graduated. I feel truly humbled to have been given this opportunity to foster hope, knowledge, and charity in the hearts and minds of so many people.
Currently a senior at the University of Texas at Austin, I am majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Women's and Gender Studies. On campus, I work as a Student Ambassador for the Office of Admissions, giving tours to prospective students and doing everything I can to reassure hesitant parents about the endless advantages of going to a large university with so many opportunities.
I am fiercely passionate about social justice, and the principles of tolerance and acceptance dominate my entire worldview. Once I graduate, I hope to pursue a Master's degree in Social Work. I am lucky to lead such a privileged life, and intend to use those privileges to heal some of the injustice that runs so increasingly rampant in our society.
I ride for people of all gender identities, races, ethnicities, nationalities, citizenries, religions, abilities, sexual orientations, education levels, class statuses, and ages. Disease, especially one as prevalent and omnipresent as cancer, is something that can and will touch the lives of anyone regardless of identity. We are all susceptible to our own humanity, and I believe that it is key to keep this in mind when fighting the monolith that is cancer.
My grandmother lost her battle with cancer when my own mother was three years old. Life as I know it today would look very differently had she won. That being said, whether things happen for a reason or they don't, things happen. It's important to kindle our own lights amongst the darkness (credit to Carl Jung). Wilma, my grandmother, will be in the back of my mind every time I mount my bicycle. There is really no doubt in my mind that she will be with me the entire time.
I met a young, handsome, goofy man named Ruel Bobet during my freshman orientation back in June 2009, days after I graduated from high school. Orientation was such a scary and nerve-wracking time for me, but there was something about his exuberance and passion and quirkiness that calmed some of my worries and helped me enjoy the experience. He became one of my closer friends during the first few weeks I was at UT, and I'll never forget how silly and wonderful he was to be around.
Ruel was diagnosed with stomach cancer on April 26th, 2011 and passed away ten months later on February 25th, 2012. He was a Texas 4000 2012 rider. I'll never forget the night the applications for the 2012 ride were due - I ran into him while getting dinner in one of the residence halls on campus. He looked at me frantically, took me by the shoulders, and said, "I've never wanted to do something more badly than this. I have to do this."
I ride, and live, for this person who has helped me in countless ways. I will fight and push harder every single day because of him, for him, and for his friends and family.
This world can be incredibly dark if we allow it to be. There is so much pain, so much hatred, so much fright for us to fight against. But that's just it. We must fight. We cannot give up. And a good fight is nothing without a lot of hope. And that's where we, ninety students from the University of Texas at Austin, and the thousands of people who help us to make this journey possible, come in.
I'm riding for you. Trust me, you're so incredibly needed. I'm riding for your life, your love, your pain, your story, and your light.
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