- Route: Ozarks
- Ride Year: 2018
- Hometown: Houston, TX
- School Year: Senior
- Major: Chemical Engineering, Plan II
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi, everyone! Thanks for stumbling onto my page, regardless of whether or not you know me.
I am a junior at the University of Texas at Austin studying chemical engineering and Plan II. I hope to use these two very opposite majors to find novel solutions in whatever I choose to pursue after graduating, whether I go into traditional industry or into research.
I always enjoy striving to live at my full potential in everything I do. I try to stick to my core values by being passionate about living out my faith, pursuing knowledge, and having a bit of an adventure along the way with my friends and family, whether that be through music, food, or deep (and silly) conversations.
One of my passions is encouraging and lifting others up in pursuing their passions and goals. I hope to see how this and everything else mentioned come together over the course of this journey as I, with my team, ride to spread Hope, Knowledge, and Charity to each town and beyond.
Why I Ride
I ride for Jonathan.
Who is he? I wish I could answer that better myself. He was a classmate at my church in Houston. He always went to the afternoon service, so I was never able to meet him in person. Seven years ago, our pastor announced during a sermon that Jonathan was currently in the hospital for liver cancer. For the next month, I saw everyone at church praying for his recovery so that he can experience all that life has to offer. So that he can grow alongside his friends. So that he can fall in love. So that he can change the world.
On October 19, 2009, my mom got off the phone, turned to me, and said, "Jonathan passed away." I stopped. The situation felt too abstract to be real. His future years, his future friendships, his dreams, and his aspirations passed with him. Because I did not know him very well, however, I stayed distant. I was young and afraid of that becoming a reality for someone close to me. I felt that by staying away, I could keep my distance from how physically and emotionally destructive cancer is.
However, cancer came knocking closer to home three years later. On a seemingly typical fall morning, I ran downstairs in my house on a rush to catch the bus. I froze in my tracks when I heard sobbing from the couch. I turned and found my mom crying into the couch. I ran and asked what happened. She turned and told me that her mom was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. My mom flew to Korea the next day and stayed with her until she passed that January. The news floored me. My grandma, 외할머니, tough as nails, raised my mixed Korean mom amidst an era constantly fighting against multiracial people. She passed down her resilience to my mom, my brothers, and me. When I visited her in Korea for the first time, I stepped into her small home and saw photos of my brothers and me, from childhood to near-adulthood, displayed throughout her room's walls. For all of this time, she had been supporting us and loving us from across the ocean. She had sacrificed so much for my mom so that her and her eventual sons would have a better life, yet she still had to die this way. During those months, I saw firsthand how cancer shattered loved ones. I heard through my phone calls with my mom how her usual fighting spirit and determination was muddled with tears.
During these times, I thought back to not only my grandma but also to Jonathan. I kept on thinking about how my grandma had given so much of herself to supporting my mom that she didn’t even know or check the warning signs of cancer. I thought about how Jonathan had his whole life ahead of him. After my grandma’s passing, I realized that cancer does not discriminate. It took not only her and Jonathan away but also so many others in the world, and countless families have lost irreplaceable kids and parents. This is not how the world ought to be. No other family should have to be scarred like Jonathan's, mine, or those that have already lost loved ones. I ride for my grandma and family to honor them and their countless sacrifices. I ride for Jonathan because he cannot. I ride for these families and have joined the fight against cancer as an advocate for cancer awareness so that in the future, people like Jonathan can live their lives to the fullest. So that people like my grandma can live their last years in peace and happiness. These people and this future are who I ride for and fight cancer for.
I cannot believe that I have been given the privilege to be a part of this amazing team. Like my teammates, I strongly believe in Texas 4000's Pillars of Hope, Knowledge, and Charity. I ride to not only raise knowledge and funds but to also carry and spread Hope with this team so that we can inspire more communities to join in the fight. So that one day, this disease will be but a distant memory.