- Route: Rockies
- Ride Year: 2018
- Hometown: Temple, TX
- School Year: Senior
- Major: Biology
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi, my name's Dustin and I'm a senior at UT. When I applied to come here, it was hardly any more of a conscious decision than brushing my teeth in the morning. With three older brothers to lead the way for me, I never had to blaze a trail for myself or face any tough decisions regarding my future. Since I came to UT though, I've learned to push myself and join organizations like Texas 4000--decisions that couldn't have been made on a whim, but that instead took careful consideration and thought for the future.
I'm generally a pretty quiet person, but I'll find myself being pretty talkative if someone starts a conversation with me. I spend most of my spare time playing music and doing anything outside, from sports to hiking to biking. Every now and then I'll get on a kick of baking banana bread, so maybe if you're lucky you'll catch me delivering some around. If you'd prefer something else, I'm afraid I can't help you since baking banana bread is the only kitchen skill I've acquired in the last 20 years.
Why I Ride
There are two people in my life that have been directly affected by cancer. First, my brother was diagnosed with thyroid cancer when I was 8 years old. Being so young, I didn’t understand the weight this held with it. It was hard for me to watch him in such agony following his operation, but learning that the surgery had gone well and that he was cancer free was enough for me to discount the destructive potential cancer so often lets loose on others’ lives.
It wasn’t until the latter half of 2016 that I was able to gain even a small glimpse at how destructive cancer can be. Around this time, I learned that my grandma, Nana, had been diagnosed with lymphoma. The first day I got to visit her, Christmas day, was fittingly bleak. I walked into what seemed like a vacant hospital and traced the dimly lit hallways until I got to her room. Wearing gloves and a mask (as per protocol), I walked in, subconsciously hoping to see the same familiar face that had greeted me so many other times, but instead feeling as if I was meeting someone else for the first time. Her face was thin, pale, cold, tired—completely transformed by the cancer in her.
Watching her battle indefinitely in a seemingly unwinnable fight has been hard for me, but I can’t begin to understand what it’s like to continuously fight a battle that has caused even a strong woman like her to want to give up. Even so, she still fights, and in doing so continues to offer me the same hope that fuels Texas 4000’s mission.
So I ride for her. I ride for those who, like my brother, were forced to fight something so big, so young. And for those who, unlike my brother, weren’t as lucky in their fight with cancer. I ride for the hope, knowledge, and charity Texas 4000 seeks to provide for all of those affected by this remorseless disease.