- Route: Sierra
- Ride Year: 2019
- Hometown: Minneapolis
- School Year: Senior
- Major: Computer Science
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why I Ride
Twelve months ago, I would have had trouble answering this question. I did not have a strong personal reason to ride 4,500 miles across North America or donate $4,500 to cancer. Life was messy, and bad things happened – I felt as though that was a fact that hung as part of the backdrop of reality. My mom's mom, Mormor (grandma in Swedish), was part of this sad fact of reality. She died as soon as she retired when I was 8 years old. I didn't know Mormor well since we had only gotten one or two opportunities to visit her in Sweden, both times when I was little. Given this, Mormor's passing felt hazy and distant to me.
This, however, was not the case for my mom. At the time Mormor passed away, my mom transformed from the most affectionate, care-free embodiment of sunshine into someone who was very distant from just about everything. In every regard I knew her, she was different and muted. I no longer came home from school to find her greeting me with a smile and snacks. I no longer saw her bubbling personality pop into my room just to talk with me. I no longer got to interact with the same loving present mom I had always relied on. This sad impact on my life obviously paled in comparison to the time my mom was going through. It was only much later in life, though, that I fully realized this.
After hearing about Texas 4000 from a past rider, I was reminded of my own distant experience with cancer and wanted to understand the perspective of my mom. I called her then and had a really difficult conversation about how that time of her life was. She recounted the horribly painful experiences she endured, such as witnessing her glamorous mom struggle to retain her identity as the cancer progressed, trying to enjoy her mom's last days to the fullest while knowing that her mom would soon no longer be with her, and witnessing her mom finally pass in the hospital bed. Throughout the call, she was in tears – twelve years after Mormor's death. I, too, was quickly brought to tears knowing that my mom was going through all of this, and I was not there to support her. I was distant and unaware of all of this pain, simply thinking of Mormor's death as just another bad thing that happened.
I ride for my mom and all of the painful experiences she had to suffer through as Mormor passed away from lung cancer. In addition, I have had the privilege to listen to my teammates open up about their experiences with cancer. After hearing all of their stories, I am motivated to ride for each of them and the people in their lives who have been affected by cancer. Finally, I ride for empathy and the ability to care about someone else's struggle, to open up and let yourself be vulnerable. I hope that you too can be vulnerable to this cause and donate as a testament that you care.