• Route: Rockies
  • Ride Year: 2020
  • Hometown: Austin, TX

About: My name is James (Jeong Ha) Choi, a fourth year biomedical engineering student at The University of Texas at Austin. I am from South Korea, but moved to the states when I was in 5th grade. I lived near Dallas for elementary and middle school but have lived in Austin since high school. Outside of school, I am an avid concert attending, ski loving, photography/film addicted, music enthusiast. Fun fact: I don't have a single family member living in the United States!

Through my enthralling journey to Anchorage, I hope to commit myself in embodying and spreading the core values, mission, and pillars of Texas 4000 through and beyond our journey. I am incredibly humbled and blessed to be given, as I see it, a once in a lifetime opportunity to be in an organization capable of making an impact beyond the realms of just Austin, Texas. And I hope you can help or join us in our fight against cancer.

Please read below to see Why I Ride and some of the reasons why I joined Texas 4000. Thank you so much for taking the time to visit my fundraising page.

Why I Ride

Cancer is, unfortunately, so prevalent. So with my ride through the states and eventually to Alaska, I want to remind everyone we meet on our journey of one thing—you are not alone, and we are here to combat the journey along with you. To be able to be united by something that can be so divisive and damaging is a true reflection of how incredibly empowering and resilient cancer communities can be.

My mother’s family has a history of breast cancer and my father's family has a history of bladder cancer. So I ride for two of my incredible aunts, aunt Young Sook and aunt Hye Sook, and for my two uncles, uncle Sae Hyun and uncle Sae Hoon. As someone who has had a close relationship with my cousin since the beginning, I personally saw how destructive and detrimental it was to her family once her mother (i.e. my aunt) developed cancer. The same was for my father's family members. Beyond the financial burdens of chemotherapy and the frequent hospital visits, the devastation that eventually consumed my family members who constantly saw their frail sister and brother (to my parents) and mother and father (to my cousins), with no hair and fragile energy, was nothing short of true desolation. The effects of cancer were so widespread. And this was just merely one glimpse of the realities of cancer. Never ever have I felt so helpless, but never have I ever felt such a strong desire to help and take action.

Since my freshman year, I have been given the opportunity to be involved with the cancer community in the Central Texas area by serving as a counselor and coordinator for Camp Kesem, which is a nationwide organization and community dedicated to serving children whose parents have or has been affected by cancer, with free-year-round services and summer camps. The resiliency, strength, and love that these kids and families have been able to demonstrate are beyond imaginable—beyond what I am even capable of replicating or exhibiting. I ride for my fellow counselors who I've had the privilege of knowing and for my Kesem families for being so unconditionally loving to everyone. I ride for their compassion, their courage, and their resiliency.

The scope of cancer's effect on families across the nation, or across the world even, is something that can never be fully captured by even something as grand as a 4,500-mile bike ride across the nation. But these are just some of the reasons why I ride. One, for my family. For my aunts and my family that had to go through such hardships in their lives. Two, for everyone in the Camp Kesem community and beyond. To the community of Texas 4000 and to the families across the nation that are tenaciously pushing through the grueling battle of cancer, I ride for you.

To Alaska and Back!
James "Chopsticks" Choi