- Route: Rockies
- Ride Year: 2017
- Hometown: Laredo, TX
- School Year: Senior
- Major: Biology, Pre-Medical
- Email: email@example.com
Hey guys! I just want to start off by saying that I'm so very grateful to be a part of this compassionate and generous organization. Ever since I've met the people in Texas 4000, I've seen nothing but passionate hearts and determined mindsets towards the fight to help find a cure for cancer. I'm truly blessed!
Anywho, about me... I'm a senior at the amazing University of Texas, pursuing a degree in biology with plans to attending the Baylor College of Medicine after graduation. Laredo, my hometown, is far south of Austin on the border with Mexico and home to both the warmest and most loving people I've ever known and the best Mexican food (yes, ACTUAL Mexican food, none of that Tex-Mex jazz). My awesomely hip parents have always supported my hopes and dreams while giving me pieces of their Malaysian background to cherish and incorporate into my life. I have a genius brother named Marcus who continuously inspires me to reach for higher things. Coming from a predominately OU alumni family (it's 10 pm, and OU still sucks), my three dogs' names are Boomer, Sooner, and Okie (short for Oklahoma, heh). On any free day, you can find me Netflix marathoning either New Girl or Grey's Anatomy (inspiration for med school, I tell myself). You can also catch me running on the Austin Boardwalk along Town lake every so often or hiking in the Green Belt. What most people will tell you if you ask them about me is that I love LOVE to eat. I have a running list of over 150 restaurants that I've either already tried or am in the process of visiting. My father is a restaurant owner in Laredo and as such, he serving-spoon fed me amazing food throughout my entire childhood. So coming to Austin, home to dozens of different cuisines, needless to say, I've had my hands (or mouth) full. Also, my mother showed me the world by encouraging me to travel to over 14 countries during the past few years. As a result, I'm a lover of life and exploring my city and world. I can't wait to discover America with Texas 4000!
Why I Ride
Three summers ago, I worked at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Janet was one of the very first patients whose operation I observed. I hadn’t met her yet. The first thing I saw of Janet was the massive tumor in her larynx. The surgeon had to completely remove her larynx, including her vocal cords. When I finally met her, she said “hello” to me via a small whiteboard. This whiteboard would prove to be our main form of communication for the five weeks that I knew her. Day in and day out, my doctors would check on her stitches. She endured multiple infections, most of which were extremely severe. After one weekend that I had off as a break, my doctors informed me that she’d almost died that Saturday. They’d had to resuscitate her and put her on assisted breathing. Up until even now, I have been fortunate enough to not have anyone in my family undergo an event as acute and sudden as this. So, at that moment, I didn’t know what or how to feel. But then, it hit me. People can be here one moment and gone the next. As obvious as that revelation sounds, I almost broke down in tears. Following her release from the intensive care unit, I made it a point to make every minute with her count. We “talked” about all sorts of things—how we both liked fishing, where she grew up, what books she enjoyed. She loved teasing me about my lackluster business outfits, writing things on her board like, “Wear more jewelry, girl! You’re so young!” On the last day of my externship, I bid adieu to my doctors after thanking them for everything and then headed straight for Janet’s room. She gave me that same old look when I walked in—a closed lip smile with huge eyes and eyebrows that screamed sass. We laughed and talked about everything under the moon for three hours before I had to say goodbye. Sometimes, I’ll think of her and giggle to myself about the way she would give me attitude simply with a marker, a whiteboard, and those wiggly eyebrows.
I don’t know whatever happened to Janet. I don’t know if she ever fully recovered from her surgery or if remaining bits of the cancer metastasized to other parts of her body. What I do know is that people like Janet, people devastated and wrecked by the effects of cancer, deserve more. That is why I support Texas 4000. As a patient at MD Anderson, Janet directly felt the influence of the Texas 4000 funds that were raised for cancer research. She received amazing medical care with revolutionary procedures, equipment, and medications. Additionally, my grandmother and aunt suffered through their fights with cancer and, fortunately, both won. When my family was going through that ordeal with them, it was rough seeing my mother in such a bad state about her mom and sister. Although I don’t know each of them as well as I would like, I know this: cancer affects more than just the patient. If I could help make a contribution, however meager in the grand scheme of things, towards beating cancer, I could rest a bit easier knowing it pushed the researchers one more step forward to finding a cure for all these people in my life.
Texas 4000 is filled with empathetic and passionate people who have had people they care about personally affected by cancer. They are driven to a goal, literally focused on that goal to the point of exhaustion for over 4,000 miles. I feel that I am and can be all these things. I am not intimidated by the fundraising goal or, more importantly, the journey to Alaska because neither is, nor will ever be, as debilitating or as difficult as having cancer. So I will ride for Janet. I will ride for my WyPo and Aunty Felicia. I will ride for the millions touched by this disease. And long after I set my bike down in Alaska, I will ride.