- Route: Ozarks
- Ride Year: 2017
- Hometown: Clear Lake, TX
- School Year: Senior
- Major: Philosophy and Biology
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I was raised in the suburbs of Houston about 15 minutes from NASA JSC, surrounded by lots of extended family. My parents came to America after the fall of Saigon in 1975, so I'm a first generation American. I’m really fortunate to have close-knit relationships with my intermediate and extended family. They’re an endless source of support, and I feel lucky to go through life with them by my side. My patronous is a marmot, and if I was a plant, I'd be an orchid. I derive a lot of joy from being creative and working with my hands. I enjoy photography (audrey-nguyen.com), outdoor adventure (hiking, being on the water, climbing, etc.), reading, dancing (ballet and hip hop), music, gardening/farming, writing, traveling, and eatin' good food and sippin' good beverage. Currently, my favorite quote is: “Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.” –Edward Abbey
I’m pursuing dual degrees in philosophy and biology. I enjoy how both fields help me contextualize life. I feel like my classes help me ask better questions – of myself, of the people around me, and of the world we live in. On campus, I’ve been a DJ with 91.7 KVRX Austin, the Co-Director (Emeritus) at the UT Microfarm, a photographer with SPARK Magazine, a member of Texas Spirits, and the co-founder and chair of the Polymathic Scholars Mentorship Program. My minor (of my own creation) is the Ethics and Economics of Environmentalism.
Why I Ride
I ride for two of the strongest women I know. The depth of their strength is astounding, and I ride for them in solidarity. My family firmly believes that actions speak louder than words, and I relish the opportunity to show my mom and my Aunt Deborah just how much they mean to me.
I ride for my mother. After finding a lump in her breast and bringing it to the attention of her doctor, she was told that there was no need for concern. She’s always had a strong (and eerily accurate) intuition, and she felt uneasy about the call. She went to MD Anderson to get a second opinion. After seeing a doctor there, she received the news: she had stage 0 breast cancer. After her initial surgery, it was found that some of the cells had broken out and become invasive, leaving my mom with two kinds of breast cancer, and moving her to stage 1. Two years after her breast cancer diagnosis, she was diagnosed with skin cancer as well. In the summer of 2008, my mother had a mastectomy. After her surgery, despite pleading from my father and the nurses, she refused to hit the button to administer pain medications into her IV. She normally doesn’t take pain medicine – she won’t even take ibuprofen when she has a headache. My mother has shown me what it means to be courageous, and what it means possess unwavering accountability to yourself and your beliefs. She has taught me to fight for what I believe in, and to not only be my own advocate, but to advocate for those who cannot do it for themselves. I am deeply grateful to say that she has been in remission for 7 years.
I want to ride for my Aunt Deborah. During her 4th year at UT Austin, she was diagnosed with stage 4 thymoma, an extremely rare form of chest cancer. She kicked cancer’s butt, and eventually returned to school and completed her degree. Just before she went into surgery, she found out A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul were touring together to Houston 4 days after she was scheduled to have open-chest surgery. After her surgery, she was told she would have to stay in post-op for up to a week. Determined to see the show, she tried to will herself into a speedy recovery and managed to convince her doctors to discharge her in time to go to the concert. Despite my grandmother’s concerns, she was dead set on attending. Only after falling on the ground and having to call for help while she was getting ready did she finally agree to not go. My aunt has always encouraged me to chase my dreams tenaciously, and to proudly own my spunk. She has shown me the value of leading by example, and showed me the value of knowledge outside of the classroom at a very early age. I am deeply grateful to say that she has been in remission for 21 years.
I relish the opportunity to ride for those who can’t, in memory of those who have passed, and for those who’s lives have been irrevocably affected by cancer.
I am honoured to have the opportunity to raise money for cancer research and to help provide accommodations for patients struggling to obtain the resources for treatment. The medical system in the United States doesn’t put enough emphasis on preventive medicine and education for early detection. I think it’s amazing that Texas 4000 hosts programs about early detection and prevention for communities along their routes that might not otherwise have ready access to this information. I deeply value Texas 4000’s message of hope, charity, and knowledge. My mother has spoken on the power of positive psychology her fight, and I believe that Texas 4000 taps into this at the ground level by spreading hope and knowledge as we bike 4,500 miles from Austin to Anchorage.
If you would like me to dedicate my ride to you or a loved one, please share your story with me here: http://goo.gl/forms/fegHekQ1gL