- Route: Rockies
- Ride Year: 2017
- Hometown: Midland, TX
- School Year: Junior
- Major: Nursing
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
About: A glimpse into my bookshelf is a glimpse into who I am. My bookshelf was born on a sunny day in May, 1995. My mom and dad filled it with the classics. Courage was handed to me through The Little Engine That Could. Every fear I faced, from eating my first leafy green to my tricycle-bicycle transition, “I think I can, I think I can, I know I can” reverberated in my head. The Velveteen Rabbit taught me how love is all that truly matters, and the poems of Shel Silverstein taught me how to dream. I remember the first time I understood loss. I was curled up next to my Dad as he read the last pages of Where The Red Fern Grows. Dad cried like a baby and I did too. As a pre-teen I went through a “Mother Teresa” phase. (Awkward, I know.) After devouring most every book she’d written and most every book written about her, I declared her my hero. Since then it has been my dream to care for people in a similar way. This dream led me to pursue nursing. Reading caused me to realize all of my greatest dreams. I remember picking up my first Harry Potter and reading the series in less than two months. My eyes were opened to a whole new world of stories. When my dad died, I cleared out space on my bookshelf for his collection. Lonesome Dove put the same thirst for adventure in my bones that it had put into my dad, and the advice given in Tuesdays With Morrie echoed the same advice my dad would give to me. C.S. Lewis showed me Good and Evil through the world of Narnia, comfort through A Grief Observed, and framework for my faith through Mere Christianity. Lesson after lesson was poured onto me as I flipped through pages – the harm in apathy (Night), the beauty of mercy (Les Miserables), the importance of honest justice (To Kill A Mockingbird), just to name a few. These books have helped write who I am today – as my bookshelf grows, I grow.
Why I Ride
The word itself holds power. Our need for hope grows larger with every year that passes by - experience reveals to us the true nature of the world we live in: one that is sometimes bent, bruised, and broken. Cancer is fighting against hope, but people are fighting against cancer. I plan on doing all I can for those in that fight.
While I don’t know what it’s like to lose a parent to cancer, I do know what it is like to lose a parent. When I was thirteen years old my hero, my dad, died. The world as I knew it came crumbling down, but bit-by-bit, I began to notice small graces. The endless deliveries of casseroles, notes, and flowers were a grace that brought me hope. Not because of the items themselves, the hope that came from them lasted long after the dishes were empty and the flowers were dead; they brought me hope because of what they represented. They represented love, empathy, and compassion in the midst of chaos. They reminded me that people could be the hands and feet of God; that every person can reflect His goodness. They reminded me that people cared. I want to show that same compassion to people - I ride to show people I care.
Growing up, I watched as many of my friends’ lost loved ones cancer. These were some of the liveliest and most compassionate individuals in our community, but cancer was ruthless and took them away. The pain cancer caused them was familiar to me, and it made me hate cancer all the more. I ride for them and their families.
I will ride. I will for people’s stories and the chance to enter into them – for my teammates and their stories, our supporters’ stories, and the stories of every person we encounter on the ride. I will ride to spread knowledge and awareness about this merciless disease. I will ride with the hopes of being a small part in doing something to change the world we live in, to make it a little less broken, a little more gentle. I will ride in pursuit of a future where cancer in only a part of the past. I will ride because the grounds for hope are not so foolish after all – and perhaps it is the ultimate act of aggression against darkness in the world today.
I ride for Mr. Gawlik.
I ride for Mr. Hanson.
I ride for my Grandpa Higgins.
I ride for all who’ve lost a loved one to cancer.
I ride for all who’ve had cancer.