- Route: Rockies
- Ride Year: 2017
- Hometown: Plano, TX
- School Year: Junior
- Major: Studio Art
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am a third-year Studio Art major here at UT-Austin, born and raised in Plano, Texas. Art is my passion; I love making art, looking at art, and reading and talking about art. I do a little of everything from drawing to printmaking to digital, but I feel truly at home when I am painting.
Going to such an incredible university has opened so many doors for me. I have found so many ways to get involved with both student life and the Austin community through the organizations I have joined, such as Texas 4000 and Texas Spirits. I owe so much of who I have become over the last couple years to the people in these organizations.
I cannot wait to see what the next year of preparing for the ride will hold and who we will be when we cross that border into Alaska.
Why I Ride
First and foremost, I ride for my Aunt Mary. She was a beautiful, strong woman who survived breast cancer and passed away last August in a fight against ALS. When I think of her, I do not think of how her disease changed her. She is so much more than Mary, a woman with ALS. She is Mary, my aunt, a mother, a grandmother, a daughter, a sister, a dentist who touched the lives of so many people. I think of her with her hygienic mask on, telling me stories about my dad, aunts and uncles, and me and my siblings over the whir of the cleaning tools as I lay in the chair, my mouth full of toothpaste. I ride for her because her optimism and strength inspires me to take on challenges that may seem beyond my grasp.
I ride because it takes something as ambitious as biking 4000+ miles to say to the world, "We CAN and we WILL find a cure if we all DO something about it." I am not a scientist, I will not be the one to find the cure to cancer, but that does not mean I sit around and hope someone, somewhere will. Riding to Alaska to raise funds and awareness is a small contribution that I make compared to the women and men who dedicate their lives to research and caring for people fighting disease.
Finally, I ride for myself. One of the many things Texas 4000 does is provide free skin cancer screenings on UT's campus. My freshman year, before I really even knew anything about Texas 4000, I chose not to take advantage of this because I was scared of what I might learn. Skin cancer is highly treatable, but, being fair-skinned, freckled and often sunburnt, I built it up in my head until I was convinced that I could not face the screenings. I lost hope at just the thought of cancer and chose ignorance. It was a wake up call to re-evaluate how I view myself and how I prioritize self-care. Two of Texas 4000's pillars are Hope and Knowledge. I ride because I want to choose hope and knowledge every day. I ride because I want to inspire others to choose hope, knowledge, charity and bravery.