- Route: Ozarks
- Ride Year: 2018
- Hometown: Corpus Christi, Texas
- School Year: Senior
- Major: BHP/Plan II
- Email: email@example.com
Hi! I'm Erika, a senior double majoring in Business Honors and Plan II. I'm super interested in the intersection between healthcare, the humanities, and business, and that has led to me to an internship at the Design Institute for Health in UT's Dell Medical School. Aside from my interest in health, I'm a part of a women's service organization on campus called Texas Orange Jackets, and also serve as a Peer Mentor to freshmen in the Business Honors Program.
In my free time, I find myself pondering life with my roommate, bullet journaling, and watching Grey's Anatomy and calling it thesis research.
Why I Ride
To me, cancer has always been an academic subject. For much of my life, I have been extraordinarily blessed to have escaped witnessing cancer's chokehold firsthand. My first encounter with the disease was when I started tutoring at my local Ronald McDonald House and met a boy named Enrique.
Enrique is hands down the most cheerful and enthusiastic person I have ever met. Even though my appearance meant that he had to stop playing for the day and start working on homework, he greeted me every week with the biggest smile he could muster. If not for his parents telling me their story, I would have never have known that Enrique had leukemia. Seeing him fight, day after day, to keep a smile on his face and keep his days as normal as possible was an inspiration to me.
I carried that inspiration to college with me, where I engaged in cancer research in a lab in the College of Pharmacy. Realizing that research was not my calling, I dived into the medical humanities aspect of the doctor-cancer patient relationship. These two things, however, made me feel helpless. I didn't feel like there was much I could to fight cancer as a college student. Enter Texas 4000.
With Texas 4000, I'm able to see the immediate, tangible impact of the work that I'm doing and bring others the hope that Enrique gave to me. Every aspect of this experience is outside of my comfort zone, but that fact pushes me to work harder and keep pedaling, because cancer is in no one's comfort zone. When I joined this organization, I thought that I didn't know a lot of people affected my cancer. But by telling my story and offering to ride for others, I am amazed and shocked by how many people in my day-to-day life have been hurt by this terrible disease. I ride for them, and I ride for Enrique, and his cheerfulness. I ride for my mom’s best friend, my Aunt Cheryl, a similarly cheerful woman with a heart full of compassion. I ride for my teammates and their loved ones, and their bravery in the face of adversity. Most importantly, I ride for the hope of a cancer-free world.