- Route: Rockies
- Ride Year: 2017
- Hometown: San Antonio, TX
- School Year: Senior
- Major: Biology
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
About: Hi! I am a current fourth year student at the University of Texas. I love volleyball, equestrian, and music. I also enjoy spending time with family. I come from a family of four consisting of myself, my mother, and two siblings – of which, I am the middle child. My mom is a silly woman with lots of patience, a New York accent, and crazy hair! I have an older brother, Dominic, and a younger sister, Christine, who pick on me and are the best siblings anyone could wish for. My family has always inspired me and encouraged me to overcome life's challenges. Without the support of mom, Dominic, and Christine, I am certain I would not be where I am now.
Why I Ride
I ride for a trio of amazing women: Barbara DeSantis, Frances Wachter, and Amalia Milione.
Barbara DeSantis, my mom, is undoubtedly the most hardworking and resilient person I will ever know. During my freshman year of high school, she was diagnosed with skin cancer for the first time. Initially, it wasn’t so bad. Relatively minor squamous and basal cell cancers appeared once in a blue moon. However, these patches began to pop up more frequently, and with every trip to the dermatologist, my mom came back with more scars. While she is currently cancer free, there is always a chance that this disease could make another appearance at any time. Words truly cannot describe how amazing my mom is, so I ride for her, and HOPE that she will continue to battle skin cancer with all her silliness and compassion.
My grandmother, Frances Wachter, was a source of inspiration for everyone in my family. I can clearly recall the happiness her presence brought us when she came to visit for holidays in years past. A truly caring and wise person, she always knew exactly what to do and say when I was feeling down. Her determination to combat renal failure superseded the strength of most people; she didn't give up, she kept going. Grandma Fran spent six years on dialysis before passing away on August 23, 2016. Because of her, I have learned not to shy away from life’s obstacles and to keep moving forward in the face of adversity. I ride for her, so I may carry her wisdom with me and share KNOWLEDGE with those I encounter on my journey.
Amalia Milione, my great aunt, was someone I wish I could have known. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in her twenties and began her battle young. She fought for over 30 years before a second diagnosis of lung cancer took her life. Although I did not know her well, the grief my mother and grandmother felt following her passing was a powerful indicator of the influence she had on others’ lives. I ride for her, so I can serve those impacted by cancer through CHARITY and give back to the resilient individuals who inspire me.
Equally important, I ride for another four-legged family member. Bandit DeSantis, our cherished boxer-lab mix, passed away on January 15, 2016 from gastrointestinal cancer. A carefree and happy spirit, her life showed us what it truly means to love unconditionally. I will always remember the days she spent barking at squirrels, licking dishes in the dishwasher, running laps around the yard, and napping peacefully in my lap. It's the little things that leave the largest impressions on us. Bandit's passing was the hardest day of my life, but when I reflect upon our time together, I can only smile.
Lastly, I ride for all who have lost their battles with cancer and those who are still fighting. Thank you for your courage and inspiration – you have instilled HOPE, KNOWLEDGE, and CHARITY within many people, myself included. I am forever yours in the fight.