• Route: Sierra
  • Ride Year: 2019
  • Hometown: Dallas, TX

About: Hello friends!

My name is Julie and I am a third year Social Work major from Dallas, TX. I have three amazing siblings, Austin, Claire, and Ben, who constantly keep life interesting. After graduating from Texas, I hope to attend graduate school earning a law degree and a Masters in Social Work. Ultimately, I plan on pursuing a career in human rights law where I can have an impact on as many lives as possible.

Outside of Texas 4000, I am a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, I serve on the Social Work Council, and I am a proud member of an intramural basketball team.

Some of my favorite things include: walks with my mom, shenanigans with my friends, jumping out of airplanes, piñatas, popsicles, purple skittles, naps, and anything and everything LeBron James… oh and now biking (:

Why I Ride

Texas 4000 has been on my bucket list since I set foot on the Forty Acres. I learned of the organization within my first month on campus and knew this was something I wanted to do. I love everything about Texas 4000; it speaks to my heart in a way that is difficult to explain. I love that it brings people together for a common good and that it raises funds and awareness to fight cancer. I know so many people close to me who have been affected by this horrible disease; however, I have not lost a parent to cancer, lost a sibling to cancer or battled cancer myself. Instead, I have watched intimately from the outside looking in; I have watched others who have fought this disease, and I have watched what it has stolen from them. I have witnessed firsthand what it has done to their life and the lives of their families. With that said, riding in Texas 4000 is so much more that. It is about being a part of something that is so much bigger than myself, something larger than life. It is about making an impact on our world today and being a change agent for future generations. It is about riding a bike 4000+ miles across the country with a group of people who are like me - who want to step out of the box, make new friends, and change the world.

I first experienced cancer in 2007 when I watched my grandfather fight his battle; and since that moment, I have known many others in similar situations fighting the same battle plagued by this terrible disease. First, I ride for him, Julian DeLaRosa, my grandpa. Biking was one of his favorite activities, and as soon as I learned to ride a bike it became a passion that we shared together. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January of 2007, and passed away just six short months later. Only ten at the time, I wasn’t entirely sure what cancer was; I only knew that it had taken an independent, stubborn, fit individual and within a matter of months, transformed him into a feeble man that could barely walk on his own, let alone ride a bike. He was a Special Agent in Charge for the FBI. He was tough. He was strong, and in my mind he was bulletproof. And yet, this disease took him from us in a matter of months, all of his years of wisdom and knowledge gone in an instant. I ride for my Grandpa, and all of the bike rides we missed out on because of cancer. I ride for my Dad, because I vividly remember his pain. I remember the eulogy he gave, how he tried to keep it together for us, and in the end, how he choked through tears as he spoke. I ride for my Mimi who shares stories and memories with the grandkids, no matter how painful it may be for her, so that we can know our grandfather.

I also ride for one of my best and oldest friends, TD Simons and her family. TD’s mother, Mona, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 when we were in the fifth grade. While TD and I were in middle school, Mona received treatment for her cancer, but during this time never gave up on her commitments within our community, whether it was coaching my basketball team or volunteering at school. At times, the cancer seemed to go away, yet it always returned in a slightly different form and with a vengeance. During my freshman year of high school, Mona had a seizure and was rushed to the emergency room where she was told that her cancer had returned. Since then, Mona has fought her battle more valiantly than anyone I know. She is like no other human on earth with a faith that can move mountains. Mona is an inspiration to all who know her; for me, she is my greatest role model. Today, Mona continues to fight always putting God and family first. I ride for her because if she can fight, so can I, in my own little way.

I ride because unfortunately these stories are not unique. Millions of people are diagnosed with cancer every year, and although everyone comes from a different walk of life and has their own story to tell, all stories are somewhat similar with a common theme. Children grow up without parents, lives are cut too short, sometimes even children’s live are cut short, and cancer forever alters everyone in its path. I ride for my grandpa, TD and her family, my Papa, my best friend’s grandmother, a fellow St. Monica bearcat, and my middle school computer teacher to name a few. Most of all, I ride for all of the people in this world who have been affected by this horrific disease. I ride for hope, endless hope that one day cancer will be eradicated from our world.

Thank you for taking time to read my story. If you would like me to dedicate my ride to anyone you know, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Cancer sucks, but with hope, knowledge, charity, and people crazy enough to bike to Alaska, we can beat it.