- Route: Rockies
- Ride Year: 2018
- Hometown: Sachse, TX
- School Year: Junior
- Major: Biology
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
About: Hi! I'm Madeline Schill, a junior at UT Austin studying Biology and minoring in Business. Despite enjoying the sciences, I also spend my time singing, writing, and exploring Austin. My family is the most important thing in the world to me: I live by my Dad's life mottos ("Poor Preparation leads to Poor Performance (PPPP)," "Early bird gets the worm," "You've got to have the passionné," "Who's number one?" "Offer it up to Jesus," and his favorite, "Go Navy! Beat Army!"). My parents share their 'passionné' for life every day with me, and have given me experiences I never dreamed possible. I went to high school in Shanghai, China, and graduated from Shanghai American School in 2015 alongside incredible classmates that shaped my outlook when I returned to Texas for university. I have a beautiful sister, Alexia, my best friend. I am ecstatic to spread hope, knowledge, and charity with my 2018 Teammates as I ride from Austin to Anchorage in Summer 2018.
Why I Ride
I was born in the middle of my oldest sister Calypso's battle with neuroblastoma. She was five years old, a child fighting for her life. My family supported her every day with their love and stayed strong as a family through faith. Calypso passed away at six years old, two weeks after I turned one. I was too young to even attend her funeral.
Having a sister I never knew has always been difficult for me to wrap my head around. Over the years, I've become more aware of the magnitude of such an experience in my family's life. I look at my parents and wonder how they never seemed overcome with sorrow or regret; I look at Alexia and wonder what went through her head when she had to take on the role of oldest sister; I look at my grandparents and wonder how devastating it had been to lose their first grandchild. All these things, I never could and never will be able to understand. I had been oblivious to an experience that changed the life of everyone in my family. I've tried to get to know Calypso through photo albums and home videos. I scrutinize every photo of us together and imagine what our relationship might have been like. I have spent years trying to find a way to demonstrate my love for her and manifest my solidarity for my family's struggle.
Even in these early stages of my involvement with Texas 4000 for Cancer, I realize that I have found a means of becoming a proponent for cancer research and prevention. The physical battle I am putting myself through to bike 4,500 miles to Alaska is the crazy experience I've needed to vocalize this passion, this drive for a cancer-free world. Hope is a crucial component in overcoming illness, and I want to actively spread hope every day until my team reaches Alaska. I want to support families battling cancer right now, and in doing so show Calypso the boundless love I have felt for her my entire life. Calypso would be turning twenty-six this year. Every mile I ride is dedicated to her life, her passing, and to the hope that one day I will meet her.
I ride for my grandma, Gwen, whose constant support and all-around goodness has given me a lot to live up to.
I ride in memory of Xiao Jian, an integral part of my high school experience, who lost his battle to a form of spinal cancer this past summer.
I ride in memory of Tanju Tuzer, my ballet teacher, my role model, and so much more. He taught thousands of souls to love the arts, to pursue our passions with headstrong determination. The pain is raw -- the loss, surreal. His legacy is immortal and will remain in my heart forever.
Texas 4000 for Cancer raises money to award grants for organizations involved in cancer research and support, such a MD Anderson Cancer Center. From now through August of 2018, I will be taking donations to reach my personal goal of $12,000. Riding 4,500 miles is not the only way to be involved in the fight for a cancer-free world: monetary donations fund the research that is making a cure for cancer attainable.
Cancer has never been a stranger in my life. I have seen it affect my family, my friends, and my role models. I ride for the people I know, the people I might have known, and the people I will get to know on this journey with Texas 4000 for Cancer.