- Route: Rockies
- Ride Year: 2018
- Hometown: Lucas, TX
- School Year: Graduate
- Major: Business Honors, MPA
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
About: Hey guys! My name is Samantha Wendt and I am a graduate student at The University of Texas at Austin. I recently graduated from UT with undergraduate degrees in Business Honors and Accounting, a minor in Chemistry, and a certificate in Forensic Accounting and Business Ethics. I am now attending UT for an additional year to finish up my Masters in Professional Accounting! After graduation, I will be joining PwC as a Forensic Services Associate in the Dallas office.
Why I Ride
I ride because words just never seem like enough. Someone complains about petty problems at school, work, and in their relationships and we say we're sorry and try to convince them it will get better. Someone tells us they are currently battling cancer and we say pretty much the same thing. There are no words to adequately convey the sympathy I feel for someone who has or is fighting cancer or has lost someone close to them to cancer. No words make up for the lifestyle changes so many families undergo due cancer. I've always believed that actions speak louder than words, so part of why I ride is because it's my way of trying to show how much I really mean it when I say I'm sorry.
I also ride to share stories of hope, like my cousin's. Katie was diagnosed with Leukemia while she was in high school, cutting short a promising basketball career and turning her normal routine into disarray. The reason I have always looked up to Katie is because had my parents not told me what she was going through, I honestly might not have ever known. Every time I went to visit her and the rest of our extended family in Illinois, without fail, Katie would have the biggest smile on her face and the same bubbly personality that I grew up accustomed to seeing. Her happiness is infectious and she truly makes the most of everyday she has.
When I first joined Texas 4000, I truly believed I was one of the luckier ones out of my teammates. By that, I mean essentially all of my stories were supposed to be ones like Katie’s, filled with survival and fulfilling lives. However, the more I told family and friends about the ride and the organization, the more I was reminded that I was not as lucky as I originally thought. Both of my grandfathers had cancer and I’ve lost uncles on both sides to cancer. In a sense, I am a lucky one; I could list more than twice the amount of survivors I know than those who have lost their battle. Frankly, though, both of those lists are much longer than they need to be and they both get longer each time I pick up the phone to check in with an extended family member. I ride to help educate people about the plethora of different names, life stages, and physical/mental complications in which cancer disguises itself.
I ride for everyone who has not only been directly affected by having cancer, but for all those who have been affected indirectly through witnessing loved ones, friends, and acquaintances fight a battle against an invisible enemy. I ride for those who have had their entire lives turned upside down, yet they do not ask for pity from anyone else. I ride for those who have had to witness the heartbreak of seeing a loved one or friend battle cancer, and yet they remained strong enough to help them through the most difficult part of their life.
I ride for hope. I ride for optimism. I ride to inspire those who are going through, or helping someone through, one of the toughest fights they could face. I want to share stories of survival and give people the little bit of strength I can provide in order to help them reach another birthday.