- Route: Ozarks
- Ride Year: 2017
- Hometown: San Antonio, TX
- School Year: Senior
- Major: Plan II and Biology
- Email: NinaLemieux@utexas.edu
About: My name is Nina Lemieux and I'm a senior at the University of Texas studying Plan II and Biology! I was born in Austin but grew up in the vibrant and friendly city of San Antonio! From my elementary school days as a Huebner Husky to my graduation as a Churchill Charger, I was blessed with an endless stream of festivals, Tex-Mex, and NBA championships. Now in Austin, I love exploring the greenbelt's many trails and rope-swings, listening to live music, and running through North Campus or along Lady Bird Lake! After graduation, I would like to go to medical school, become fluent in French and Spanish, and BIKE TO ALASKA!
Why I Ride
After losing my grandfather 5 years ago, I felt disillusioned with the fight against cancer. I felt like cancer was too big of a beast and felt I couldn’t offer anything meaningful to those battling cancer. It wasn't until my freshman year of college that I discovered Camp Kesem and learned how potent a message of hope can be. At Camp Kesem, children with parents who have or have passed away from cancer are given the chance to share their experience with other kids who understand. They get a free week of camp to ride water slides, make crafts, and just be a kid with their peers. Seeing their transformations from nervous and quiet kids to a supportive and boisterous group of friends and watching their parents set up play dates and brunches made me realize how important community is for families affected by cancer.
Now, I ride for Texas 4000 because I believe it is an ideal organization to support these communities. Many times people with cancer and their families are afraid to share their stories because they are afraid of alienating other people. When Texas 4000 rides through a town, they encourage individuals to share their experiences, make ride dedications, and join together to support those fighting now and to prevent cancer in the future. Texas 4000 also provides cancer prevention and early detection programs and writes grants to researchers searching for a cure and non-profits that provide resources for those affected by cancer. Since its inception 12 years ago, Texas 4000 has given over $5 million in grants.
There are millions of reasons to ride and every rider on my team has their own ride dedications. In 2017,
I will ride for all of the campers at Camp Kesem, especially the Blue Unit, because no eight year old should ever have to talk about hospice care at summer camp.
I will ride for my camper’s families, because chemotherapy and hospital stays should never take the place of soccer games and school plays. I would ride for these families because no parent should ever have to hear the words “your cancer has come back” and no spouse should become a single parent because cancer wouldn’t relent.
I will ride for my parents and for every other child of a cancer patient. I will ride for those children whose parent can no longer remember their name when they visit. I will ride for those who couldn’t make it home in time to say goodbye because cancer doesn’t care about timelines or plane schedules
Finally, I will ride for both of my grandpas. Grandpa Crawford who was never sick a day in his life until he was diagnosed with lung cancer and Grandpa Lemieux, who was the greatest man I ever knew and who fought cancer twice before he died 6 years ago.
I hope you will consider donating to my ride. Riders pay for their own expenses and all donations go exclusively to grantmaking.