- Route: Rockies
- Ride Year: 2017
- Hometown: Houston, TX
- School Year: Junior
- Major: Plan II, International Relations & Global Studies
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi! My name is Samantha Gorny, and I am a junior Plan II/International Relations major. I was born in Houston, Texas, where I have lived my whole life with my mom, my dad, and my dog Lucy. Because I’m an only child, my family is super close and I am lucky to call my parents some of my best friends. They encourage me to be passionate about everything I do, and I try my best to remember to embody this sentiment every day. Throughout high school, I was a competitive figure skater and softball player, and I still try to do this every once in awhile! Now in my free time I love to cook/make baked goods for my roommates, run, watch Jeopardy, and check out new coffee shops around the city.
Coming to UT has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I was lucky enough to meet my best friends freshman year through the dorms I lived in (shout out @Seton Uhlhorn, another 2017 rider & my roommate/best friend), as well as through Texas Sweethearts, a spirit group on campus. After college, I plan to pursue a career in international media and journalism. For now, I am so excited to be a part of this amazing organization and I cannot wait to see where it takes me!
Why I Ride
We all know what cancer means. However, until experienced firsthand, it is impossible to know exactly what cancer entails. When I was in second grade, I was unfortunate enough to learn everything that cancer entails when my Aunt Helene was diagnosed with melanoma. Just 2 months after the diagnosis, she passed away. As a second grader, I directly witnessed the rapid and painful course cancer runs, not only on the patient, but the family surrounding them as well. I saw the horrible side effects that cancer has not only on my Aunt Helene but her husband, her sisters, as well as every person she touched in her life. I loved Helene; she was beautiful, kind, funny, and smart. And in an instant, she was gone. I ride for my Aunt Helene.
Then, when I was in 7th grade, I was told that my own mother had been diagnosed with malignant melanoma - the same cancer my Aunt Helene passed away from just 5 years prior - in her leg. To this day, I have never felt such amplified terror and anxiety as I felt the day my mother was diagnosed. My mom was, and is still, my best friend. I am an only child. I had never shared my mom with anyone or anything before, then, all of a sudden, the cancer was closer to her physically than I could ever be. Luckily, it was caught before it got too severe and it was able to be removed. My mom has since had had another squamous on her forehead, which was also able to be removed. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about how lucky my family is to still have her. I ride for my mom.
Finally, I ride for my dad. One of the pillars of Texas 4000 is knowledge, and a major reason for my ride is to help spread knowledge and awareness of the effect smoking has on the body. My dad has been smoking for 35 years, which exponentially increases his chances for lung cancer. It is a hard habit to break, but there is no exception for making yourself more susceptible to cancer. I want to ride in his honor to spread awareness of the dangers of smoking and to encourage him and others like him to prioritize health over cigarettes.