- Route: Rockies
- Ride Year: 2016
- Hometown: Katy, TX
- School Year: Senior
- Major: Plan II Honors & Business (Management Information Systems)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello, my name is Ayesha! I’ve moved around enough to not be able to say I’m from anywhere specifically. Having lived in four states (Virginia, New Jersey, Florida, and Texas) and two countries (the United States and India), I’ve developed a passion for traveling. I absolutely love meeting new people, experiencing new cultures and learning about the food, music, history, religion, and traditions of the places I visit. In college, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Canada, Ghana, Argentina, Uruguay, Turkey, South Africa, and Colombia, and I hope to continue exploring the world.
I never really know what to say about myself, but here are the essentials: I enjoy food (read: eating) probably way more than the average person, and watch more shows on Food Network than I am willing to admit. I swam competitively for twelve years and feel most comfortable in the water. I love documentaries, DIY projects, and kayaking. I binge watch Ted talks, and love, love, love listening to music from around the world. Two years ago, I joined the Javanese Gamelan Ensemble, a traditional Indonesian music group, and am learning to play the saron, the demung, the kenong, and the ketuk!
As a Plan II and Business double major, I hope to one day enter the non-profit world to help underprivileged communities in developing nations become self-sustainable. I believe education is one of the greatest ways to empower individuals, and I hope to aid in reforming our education system. Every summer, I visit India to participate in community projects, and hope to continue to gear my career in this direction.
I am so excited to be part of this movement! I love talking and meeting people in my community, so feel free to reach out: email@example.com
Why I Ride
In sixth grade, I was living in Miami and would ride the bus with the same group of kids I had known since elementary school. When one of our classmates didn’t show up, we learned that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer, as a product of second-hand smoking. As a twelve year old, I didn’t understand cancer. I didn’t know what chemotherapy was, that there were four stages of cancer, that Bobby might not ride the bus for the rest of the year, or ever again.
On the bus, someone else took Bobby’s seat. We pretended that he wasn’t sick, but we also never talked about him. Our bus driver started skipping Bobby’s stop, and soon enough, it was as if he never existed.
You see, no one ever talked about cancer. The school I attended was located in a community that had been ravished by decades of poverty. There were no fundraisers, awareness campaigns, or relief efforts to help Bobby and his family. My peers and their families simply didn’t have the financial means, nor the knowledge, to lend support to Bobby.
In eighth grade, I moved to Houston. In ninth grade, Bobby went back to school. He survived. It was only at this moment that I allowed myself to express an emotion I had been feeling for three years: disappointment. I was disappointed in my community for doing nothing to help Bobby or even to acknowledge the disease, but I was mostly disappointed in myself because I had done nothing to help a friend.
My experience living in Miami, coupled with my annual visits to India instilled in me a very real understanding of the affects of poverty. Moving to Houston, where I saw individuals come from all over the world to obtain treatment at the world-renowed MD Anderson Cancer Center. In my service organization, we collected funds for the Alex’s Lemonade Stand for Childhood Cancer Research, and I remember being profoundly overwhelmed by the generosity I received, often from random individuals. In Houston, people talked about cancer and contributed to charities supporting the fight against this disease because they had both the knowledge and means to do so. The contrast between my cancer experience in Miami and that in Houston was stark. While cancer doesn't discriminate in who it targets, it certainly does in who it kills. Because the reality is that individuals of color, those of low socioeconomic status succumb to this disease because of the inequitable treatment, education, and survivorship they receive. And while my reasons for joining Texas 4000 are more rooted in my sense of equality and my desire to alleviate the affects of poverty, it still stands that I believe the more we raise awareness and resources for the fight against cancer, the better chance we have to ensure that all communities have a fair fight in this disease.
So I ride for Bobby, for what he had to face, for what he still faces, and for what he will continue to face. But I also ride for every single person affected by cancer. For those who have been cured, for those who are being treated, and for all those died fighting. I joined Texas 4000 to bring awareness to communities in America about prevention and early detection; I joined Texas 4000 to help families struggling financially, so that they, too, have the opportunity to obtain the best treatment possible; I joined Texas 4000 to spread hope among cancer-fighters all across our globe.
For those who had—and still have—hopes, dreams, and ambitions, I ride.
I ride for individuals I have met in the cancer-fighting community since joining Texas 4000. I ride for two of my best friends, both of whom lost their mothers this past year to cancer. I ride for my own aunt, a cancer survivor and an admirably strong woman. I ride for so many individuals I have met in this journey who have shared their stories and names of loved one with me. And I ride for my teammates, all of whom have lost someone dear to this horrible disease.
Finally, I ride for my family. For my mother, who has been the most inspirational person in my life, instilling in me the values of hard work and unwavering love. For my father, who has taught me to look for the silver lining, and who has steadfastly provided all he can for my family. And for my little brother, whose unconditional support I am forever grateful for, and whom I hope to inspire through the routine challenges I know he struggles with.
I ride because I am inspired, and I ride because I hope to inspire.