- Route: Sierra
- Ride Year: 2017
- Hometown: Midland, Texas
- School Year: Senior
- Major: Plan II Honors, Government, Public Health
- Email: ArjunMocherla@utexas.edu
My name is Arjun Mocherla and I was born in Hyderabad, India. From India to Hong Kong to Ohio to Indiana, to East Texas and finally West, I call the deserts of the Permian Basin my home. I'm lucky to have two loving parents, Satish and Bhavana, as well as a younger brother in high school, Anuj (which conveniently means younger brother). I come from a family steeped in tradition and a proud heritage that humbles me and has spurred a passion for community - something I hope to continue to dedicate my life to.
I'm interested in the intersection of policy and medicine, and hope to pursue graduate coursework in that area. On campus I've been involved as the Vice President of the Tejas Club, President of the Texas Student Media Board of Trustees, a member of the President's Student Advisory Committee (PSAC), the Longhorn Run Committee, and a Junior Captain on Punjabbawockeez, a bhangra/hip-hop fashion dance team.
I enjoy reading (lately a lot of self-help books), dancing (bhangra, hip-hop, & social), and meeting new people.
Every day is a good day when I've made at least one new friend.
Why I Ride
Early freshman year, I received a message from a Texas Ex, Mr. Jefferson Jones “JJ” Baskin, saying that he “was looking at the scholarship recipients from Midland and thought we had the most in common of all the recipients." That kind note led to a life’s worth of mentorship and friendship that has been the foundation of my time at the University of Texas. JJ quickly became my guide, my confidante, and my biggest supporter. His thoughtful words, wide experience, and wise instruction helped me make decisions and explore my own passions.
A year later, JJ was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma primary lung cancer that spread. Instead of keeping his battle against cancer within his family, JJ started “JJ’s Fight Club,” a blog and community revolving around his treatment. The first rule – to not talk about fight club – reminded everyone that though JJ would share his medical journey, the fight club was about more than just the cancer treatment. JJ did not want to be just a cancer patient, but a source of inspiration and good in the world.
Getting coffee with JJ while he battled cancer and while I struggled with direction taught me about how precious our relationships with loved ones are and how important community is to the success and life of the individual. Just as JJ saw his Fight Club as more than about treatment, Texas 4000 is more than just a bike ride, but a common human journey of bringing people together towards a cause of love and hope.
JJ passed away on March 26th, 2015. About a year later, I’m launching my own war against cancer and excited to bring a little bit of JJ’s Fight Club along with me. I ride for JJ, friends, family, and communities at large that have been affected by cancer. I ride to continue JJ’s legacy of touching other lives and inspiring them to make a difference in the world.
I will always be a proud member of JJ’s Fight Club, and with that same spirit of love and compassion, I ride to spread hope, knowledge, and charity as we bike 4,500 miles from Austin to Anchorage.
Our war against cancer is crucial. Cancer is the antithesis of humanity. It is literally the human cell turning against the rest of the body, and our fight against it is the good of humanity and beauty of community. I am honored to dedicate my ride to this fight and hope to dedicate each day to someone in the fight, loved ones that have passed, and to those affected by cancer. If you would like me to ride for someone, please share your story with me: http://goo.gl/forms/jPoRDiFwpL
In JJ’s words:
“Clear eyes. Full hearts. CAN’T LOSE.”