- Route: Rockies
- Ride Year: 2017
- Hometown: Austin, TX and Pittsburgh, PA
- School Year: Senior
- Major: Neuroscience
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Adam Sacks, and I am a junior here at UT Austin, majoring in Neuroscience with a certificate in German. Born in Miami, Florida, raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and having finished high school here in Austin, Texas, I have been fortunate in having seen much of the country during my childhood. However, much to the dismay of many of my friends here in Texas, I still consider myself a yankee at heart.
Coming from an incredibly close-knit household, family is without a doubt the most important part of my life. I can always count on being able to go to my amazing parents for support, and, on the same token, I could hardly ask for better friends than my brother and sister. Similarly, the love and care of my extended family has helped make me the person I am today. I will forever be thankful for them all.
Outside of this background, my life has also been heavily defined by my interests. Since a young age, music has been fundamental to who I am. Whenever I need a break from the hustle and bustle of college life, I look towards my cello or bass guitar for a little me time. I also have a strong enthusiasm for health and fitness, having just ran my first marathon this past February. This hobby not only keeps me feeling well but also helps fight off some of the more unpleasant “growth” one can experience in college. Outside of these activities, I also enjoy reading, linguistics, and history.
As for my time here at the university, I am a proud member of both the Tejas Club and Texas Blazers, in addition to being a part of Texas 4000. These organizations have contributed greatly to my college experience, and the lessons and friendships I have developed within will be carried with me long past graduation.
Why I Ride
There is a phrase that almost always comes up when someone mentions my paternal grandfather, Jerry Sacks: “That man had a hard life." Kicked out of a violent home as a teenager, drafted into and injured in the Korean War, and suffering through a troubled adult life, Jerry most certainly fit this statement. Yet, no matter what the dice of life rolled for him, my grandfather stayed one of the gentlest, most optimistic individuals whom I have had the pleasure to know. Whenever drama inevitably hit our Thanksgiving family dinner, my grandpa would simply drive my siblings and I out to one of his favorite spots in Detroit, share a fun piece of rustbelt folklore, and give us that unforgettable goofy smile of his. With this humble gesture, the family drama no longer seemed so scary and life just felt a little easier.
Unfortunately, like so many others, Jerry fell ill. Diagnosed with bladder cancer in at age 80, a man who deserved only the best lived the remainder of his life debilitated, scared, and in pain. I remember walking into his hospital room for what would be my final visit with him and seeing the expression on his face. My brave grandpa had never before looked so defeated, unable to comprehend what was happening to his body. Worst of all, he was alone. There were no volunteers in the room, no old friends, no nursing staff, and no doctors. It was a terrible sight, and I just wish someone had been there to be with him during those last few weeks.
Having seen my grandpa’s struggle firsthand, I know more must be done for those battling this illness. Moreover, I know that I want to be part of the movement to do so. From sitting with and hearing the stories of cancer patients to standing in the rain raising funds for cancer research, it is my absolute privilege to be a part of the fight against cancer. It is for this reason that I ride for my grandpa Jerry. From Austin to Anchorage, Alaska, I will share his story and spread hope across North America.
Outside of this personal connection, another great motivator for my ride is my own interest in preventative care and nutrition. Specifically, as a supporter of self-education, I believe immensely in the value of healthy lifestyle choices in preventing illness and the enormous effect such decisions can have on one’s well-being. On a personal level, I incorporate this concept into my life through my choice to uphold a diet and fitness regime. In regards to Texas 4000, the program does an outstanding job in emphasizing the importance of preventative medicine to both local and larger communities. From the local work at St. David’s Medical Center to more grassroots efforts along the ride, the program’s commitment to illness prevention is firmly evident. It is my pleasure to contribute to this aspect of Texas 4000 and make a direct impact in preventative medicine.
The final reason for my ride comes from my own strong enthusiasm for the moral aspect of healing, a topic for which I care deeply and on which I will be focusing my honors thesis. Over the last few months, I have begun a volunteer position through Hospice Austin and work weekly with terminally ill patients. Through this opportunity and previous experiences, I have learned the tremendous importance of “patient wellness.” This phrase does not refer to readings like low blood pressure or good cholesterol levels. Rather, it refers to the complete social, emotional, and physiological health of the individual. It is the recognition of the patient as a human being, not a clipboard. By directly raising funds for cancer research, visiting and spending time with those affected by the illness, and accomplishing an unimaginable physical feat that inspires limitless hope, Texas 4000 embodies all aspects of wellness. Even beyond this fact, the efforts of T4K speak a clear, unified message to those in need: You matter, and we are all in this journey together. I cannot imagine a program for which I have more respect, and for the reasons above, I am part of Texas 4000 for Cancer.