- Route: Ozarks
- Ride Year: 2017
- Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee
- School Year: Junior
- Major: Supply Chain Management and English
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, I long saw Texas as a place where the age of the frontier never ended. While the rest of the country stopped being wild and wooly, within the geographic limits of this state the country was never truly domesticated. So when I came to this state, following in the footsteps of Davy Crockett and Sam Houston, I did not only want to study Business and English, but also a certain kind of wildness, an embrace of open spaces and open possibilities that has since left much of the world.
When I arrived, however, I found myself flanked by skyscrapers and hipsters, which I initially took as markers of a closed off society that no longer possessed a frontier spirit. Over time, however, I came to understand that these experimental chefs and wildcatting start-ups are the spiritual successors of the pioneers that settled this land all those years ago. Texas is still a place where anyone can make anything of themselves, the goals are just different.
There is a lot of backstory to the person who boarded that first plane form Nashville to Austin. There is just as much material about the person I have become in this city, but what matters most (at least to me) is that I’ve steeped a Tennesseean inclination to personality in a Texan obsession with possibility. I believe in open spaces. Now I want to bike across them to end cancer.
Why I Ride
Standing in the middle of that pep rally as the shears slid over my scalp, I watched my hair drift to the ground around me in feathery chunks. My senior class had raised enough money for our annual cancer research fundraiser to watch me lose my hair. Standing next to me, Dr. Tim Boyd, my beloved European History professor and mentor also had a ring of recently liberated hair at his feet. That winter he had lost his mother to breast cancer and he had made a similar promise in honor of her.
I’ve been affected by cancer in my own way – lost friends and relatives and watched people I care about struggle in the clutches of a disease that turns the body against itself. I could talk about that part of the reason I ride at length here, but I want to take a different angle, just to make sure this hits home with you.
In talking about the tyranny of cancer, people often say "we all know somone who has cancer." That is largely true and also one of the reasons the disease is so horrible. An even more universal connection to the disease exists though - Not everyone has lost a loved one to cnacer, but everyone knows someone who has and wears the grief as a fetter on their heart.
Watching Dr. Boyd face life without his mother was enough to make me long for a world free of cancer. The people that carry the disease in their bodies are more than enough reason for me, but I hope all your friends and family who have borne the grief of loss because of cancer are enough.
So I put it to you - you most likely know someone who has suffered through cancer, fought it, and hopefully won. You have definitely watched someone mourn cancer's loss.
I ride for the people I've lost. I also ride for the pain that loss has thrust upon my friends and family. Those sufferings are not equivalent, but they both matter to me and they both make we want to ride to end this disease.