- Route: Sierra
- Ride Year: 2019
- Hometown: Austin
- School Year: Senior
- Major: Chemical Engineering
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why I Ride
One dollar, one step.
Before the summer of 2017, I had no idea how big this very small statement would become in my life. Before the summer of 2017, my experience with the destructive power of cancer was (thankfully) very limited. When I was around five or six years old, my father lost his mom to ovarian cancer. Though I had only met her once and was too young to fully grasp the weight of death, I was witness to my dad's tears and my mom's efforts to comfort him. A few years later, my childhood nanny lost her husband to lung cancer. At age nine, I could now comprehend death. I reminisced on the times Tatay (Filipino for "father" or "a very respected and revered figure") would come home after work and surprise me with candy and popcorn. I saw that my nanny loved him and I saw the immense pain that she experienced at his passing.
However, despite the experience of these traumatic memories, I still had not truly grasped the debilitating power that cancer holds. Then, in the summer of 2017, my mother was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare and incurable form of bone marrow cancer. I remember receiving the call in my Austin apartment and crumpling to the floor in hopeless tears.
As a first generation child, I am well aware of the struggles both of my parents overcame in order for my sister and I to live this privileged in the States. My mother graduated top of her high school and college classes AND had the 10th highest nursing board exam score in the Philippines. She began her main nursing career with my father in a small town in West Texas and worked to pay for the house where my sister and I were raised.
The thought that my mom had worked so hard her entire life just to be hit with the threat of that life ending in just a few years...
That thought was crushing. Hopeless. I wanted so badly for my mother to enjoy her life. It was almost as if she were already gone.
As of March 2018, just 8 to 9 months after the diagnosis, my mom has celebrated 100 days of remission. One-hundred percent cancer-free. After months of chemotherapy treatments and stem-cell transplants and check-ups from MD Anderson and Houston Methodist, my mother has, at least for an extended period of time, beaten cancer.
This would have been impossible without the billions and billions of dollars going into cancer research. And these billions of dollars started flowing in with the purpose of ending that power that cancer holds over so the lives of so many. However, these billions of dollars come from the most unlikely places. In fact, most of the money that funds cancer research annually...comes from individual donations. That is more than $390 billion...just from people giving.
One dollar, one step. A donation as small as one dollar is one step closer to a family mended. One step closer to the next dad's mother or nanny's husband or mother becoming cancer-free. One step closer to a cure.
That is why I am asking for your donation. That is why I am volunteering and taking part in leadership opportunities across UT and Austin. And that is why I will ride with the rest of my Texas 4000 team all the way to Alaska. Every single dollar matters. Please help us make a difference.
Thank you for reading and thank you for your support!