• Route: Ozarks
  • Ride Year: 2015
  • Hometown: Spring, TX

About: I was born in The Woodlands, Texas and grew up in Spring, Texas, both of them satellite communities of Houston. As a member of a large, loud, (usually) lovable Mexican-American family, I have a genetic fondness for menudo, tejano music, and anything smothered in homemade salsa. Among other things, my family has passed down a deep love of the Catholic faith and the ability to argue about nearly anything.

Since I'm pursuing a double major in Biochemistry and Plan II and a graduate certificate in Public Health, I can most often be found in the research lab or the library. I escape occasionally to lead a Bible study, volunteer around the Austin community, dance with friends at Midnight Rodeo or The Fed, and explore the always vibrant, always entertaining, and – of course – always weird city of Austin.

In my time at UT, I've been lucky enough to work with several professors on their research projects, collaborate with other students in the Senate of College Councils, volunteer in Trinidad and Tobago, and spend a semester in London, England. I truly love this school and I will always be grateful for the opportunities it's given me.

A few of my favorite things, in no particular order, are: books, strong coffee, chocolate covered raisins, and having unnecessarily strong opinions about pop culture.

Why I Ride

My godmother is not a loud or assuming woman. She does not demand attention or seek the limelight. Of all her siblings, she is probably the gentlest. She is also among the bravest, strongest people I have ever been lucky enough to know and a cancer survivor to boot.

During my aunt’s bout with multiple myeloma, I found that more often than not, she provided hope to our family. Her resilience carried us through the ordeal of her disease, even as it sapped her of her strength. I ride to honor her strength and to remember the lessons she taught me during her struggle. Tomorrow, for better or for worse, will dawn. Death need never be feared. Illness cannot take away hope.

With every mile, I want to honor the bravery and strength of those who like my aunt, did not let illness steal their joy or their resilience. I want to honor the friends and family members united with their loved ones in the fight. I want to demonstrate that hope, that intensely human drive, can endure long after reason fails. Most of all, I want to remind everyone that one of the tomorrows waiting to dawn is one without the threat of cancer.