- Route: Ozarks
- Ride Year: 2019
- Hometown: Austin
- School Year: Senior
- Major: Honors in Advanced Human Development and Family Sciences
- Email: email@example.com
Hi and welcome all to my Texas 4000 Rider Page! My name is Tricia Dillawn, and I’m currently a senior on the premedical track going into my fifth year at the University of Texas majoring in Honors in Human Development and Family Sciences with a certificate in Public Health.
I can summarize many aspects of my life in groups of three. I have three siblings, Sam, Allison, and Will, and I can confidently say that I would not be the person I am today without them. Three things that you are likely to find me doing an average day are studying at Flightpath, running at Town Lake Trail, and blowing my budget on smoothies at [insert every smoothie place in Austin]. Three people I look up to are Michelle Obama, Tina Fey, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Finally, three things that I am very passionate about are the empowerment of the intellectually and developmentally disabled community, healthcare equality, and this organization, Texas 4000.
As for my other involvements at UT and beyond, I am a medical scribe at Texas Oncology for Dr. Punit Chadha, a Biochemistry teaching assistant, and a research assistant for Dr. Nancy Hazen and Dr. Deborah Jacobvitz. I have also previously been a leader on Capernaum YoungLife, a member of Texas Tri Delta, a member of American Student Medical Association (AMSA), and a member of Women in Natural Sciences.
Why I Ride
First, I want to say that I feel deeply honored to be a part of an organization made up of student leaders who are so passionate about the fight against cancer that they take on the daunting physical feat of biking 4000 miles from Austin, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska. I could not do this without the infallible and steadfast support of my incredible teammates.
Sometimes, cancer can seem like such an intangible force. An enigma that can hide undetected sometimes for years, that arises from mutations within errors in our own cells that are indiscriminate to the naked eye, and that rages from deep within the body. As much as cancer’s nature is intangible, its effects on the people that it impacts are incredibly tangible. As a patient, bearing the physical and emotional effects of cancer and cancer treatment is excruciating. As a loved one, witnessing someone that you care deeply about bear the heavy burden that cancer relays is heartbreaking, and carrying that burden with them can sometimes feel impossible. Pain, in whatever form it takes, is palpable, tangible.
There are few people I know who have not been touched in some way by cancer. For me personally, I have witnessed three family members battle this disease: my aunt Beth, my grandmother Christine, and my grandfather Charles. A vivacious and loving wife and mother of four, a woman who was a physician’s assistant and a teacher and founder of an elementary school, Aunt Beth was a stronghold in our family. She was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer when I was 7 years old. Cancer tested her strength and our family’s strength to its limits. Upon her passing in 2002, I have never felt a pain in my life more palpable than that which gripped her husband, children, and siblings. My grandmother Christine battled cancer twice in her life, once when she was in her 30’s and again in her 80’s. In her 80’s, my grandmother’s frailty was such that she was not a candidate for chemotherapy nor was she able to fight as she could in her 30’s. Unfortunately, she lost her second battle with cancer; again, pain reverberated through my family. My grandfather, Charles, Christine’s husband, is currently battling cancer today. His diagnosis came not long after my grandmother’s; the strength and resilience he has maintained in the role of loved one and patient has and continues to amaze me.
I ride for my Aunt Beth, for my grandmother Christine, and for my grandfather Charles. I ride for all cancer patients, of whom cancer haunts their past, pervades their present, and clouds their future. And I ride for the family members and friends of the cancer patients who so fervently wield their flags and rush into the battle against cancer alongside their loved ones.
Moreover, I have committed to ride a bike from Texas to Alaska with Texas 4000 to contribute to making the cure for cancer tangible. I truly believe that one day there will be a world that exists without cancer, and Texas 4000’s three pillars of hope, knowledge, and charity are the keys to realizing this future. Hope is our fortress from which we can garner strength and determination. Knowledge is our guide towards progressing cancer research and prevention. And Charity is our beacon, illuminating the ways in which we can support each other in meaningful ways.
Just like riding a bike up a high-altitude mountain road, this journey will be daunting, but it is achievable, and wholly within our hands.
“Achieving the summit of a mountain was tangible, immutable, concrete. The incumbent hazards lent the activity a seriousness of purpose that was sorely missing from the rest of my life. I thrilled in the fresh perspective that came from the tipping the ordinary plane of existence on end.”
-John Krakauer, Into Thin Air
Everyone's story matters. If there is anyone in your life that I can ride for, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.