About Me

Profile

  • Route: Unassigned
  • Ride Year: 2018
  • Hometown: Pearland, TX

About: Hello! My name is Ruchika and I'm a third year Chemical Engineering and Government double major. I was born and raised in Pearland, TX.

On campus, I've been involved with Saaya Fusion Dance Team, the Society of Women Engineers, and Texas Women’s Council. I am always looking forward to new adventures and especially enjoying traveling to new places. One of my bucket list goals is to visit all 50 states. In college I have gotten to travel to Boston, Atlanta, Washington D.C., and many other places with my dance team, as we performed across the country to share our passion and Indian heritage with the world. I’m currently at 39/50 and hope to cross off a few states along my ride! Some of my other escapades include: having tried every flavor of Crest toothpaste ever made, visiting the southern most tip of Continental Asia, and climbing Bunsen Peak in Yellowstone National Park. One of my favorite things is La Croix sparkling water and whenever I hear about a new flavor I get obsessed with tracking it down, the search for la cola prevails (yes there exists a healthy cola flavored sparkling water)!

Thanks for taking the time to read my profile, and joining me as I begin my next adventure and undertake this wild ride!

Why I Ride

In August of 2014, I went on a family vacation to Alaska. Our plane from Houston to Anchorage was full of proud parents of Texas 4000 riders who were scheduled to arrive in Anchorage the next day. Hearing their stories was my first exposure to Texas 4000, and it was characterized by utter disbelief. I wondered why would anyone bike from Texas to Alaska? At that point in my life, I was personally unaffected by cancer. Yes I had heard tragic stories, but cancer felt like a surreal global phenomena that was terrible but still not necessarily important to me.

One of the greatest influencers in my life was Dr. Omprakash Kothari, but I never got the chance to tell him the impact he had on me. Growing up, the Kothari’s were my only relatives here in the US. I always considered him to be my own grandfather and fondly called him “Nanaji”. Nanaji was chair of the Pathology Department at Kent County Memorial Hospital. His achievements, hard work, and story made him a role model and constant motivator in my life.

Pathology is the study of the causes and effects of diseases. One of the greatest names in cancer research was Sidney Faber, pediatric pathologist who invented chemotherapy. Despite having studied the diseases for years, Nanaji was suddenly diagnosed with cancer in July of 2015 and passed away in August of 2015. Less then a month passed between his diagnosis and death. As a student of science, this was an unfathomable fact to wrap head my head around. How this could one of the smartest men I knew, the chair of a Pathology Department, and graduate of Brown University be succumbed to such a predator that even those who study it can never predict its attack?

I hope to dedicate my summer to support the further study of medicine, a subject Nanaji was very passionate about and further his legacy. I want to be able to commit to something that promotes positivity and hope even when facing the darkest hours. Texas 4000 is not just a trip from Austin to Anchorage; it is a journey to prove that overcoming the hopeless caused by this horrible disease is possible. This ride is not just about ending a horrible disease, but I think it is also about ending the negativity that surrounds it. The negative effects of cancer are widespread but the positive spirit of human nature can, has, and will transcend it. I want to ride for such positivity because riding for this cause will prove that anything is possible as long as we stay motivated to overcome hurdles, even a cure for cancer!