• Route: Sierra
  • Ride Year: 2020
  • Hometown: Edinburg, TX

About: Hello hello!
My name is Delisa, I'm from Edinburg, TX, and I’m a junior pursuing a degree in Genetics and Genomics and a certificate in Statistical Modeling. I come from the two most incredible parents I know, Dale and Deborah, and have the best younger sisters anyone could ever ask for, Deandra and Denise. And, yes before you ask, all of our names start with a D. You can usually find me in some of the more aesthetic buildings on campus trying to study; the prettier the building, the more likely I’ll be there. During the summers, you can see me running around campus as an Orientation Advisor.

My current obsessions (subject to change) are:
- my French press
- super dark chocolate
- watching blind auditions of The Voice on YouTube
- scrolling through Instagram pages of modern architecture
- Jack Antonoff’s band, Bleachers
- everything about skincare
- basking in the sun on my beanbag
- chef Samin Nosrat (if you don’t know who she is, look her up after you finish reading my page)

Why I Ride

A battle is never won with simply one person. Neither is it fought alone.
Every fight against cancer is not done unaided. It takes the strength of the patient, the courage of surrounding loved ones, the dedication of oncologists, the will of scientists, and the support of the community.
Uniting people and ideas, sharing knowledge, and restoring humanity in the fight against cancer, that’s what wins the battle.

Mr. T-
In high school, I wasn’t just a clarinet in the band, I lived and breathed band. For anyone reading this who also was in the band, I am certain you can attest to the fact that the band hall was your second home and the band directors and students were your second family. My clarinet director’s name was Michael Trejo, or as I knew him, Mr. T. And I ride for him.
Music wasn’t just a hobby for Mr. T, it was a way of life that he instilled in all of his clarinets from the moment we met him on the first day of summer band camp my sophomore year. He built us into a family, and we grew together throughout the years from marching rehearsals, to clarinet choir practices. He was there through it all; the typical audition nerves, the glorious high school drama, the tears of success and failure. Nearing the end of my freshman year in college, the doctors found a tumor in his brain that came back cancerous. Within weeks it had metastasized to his lungs leading to multiple complications. That May, he left us at only 30 years old. I never really got a chance to say goodbye; cancer snatched his life away within what seemed like the blink of an eye. So, Mr. T, thank you for an incredible three years of beautiful memories, endless chromatic warm-ups, and never giving up on me. This one’s for you.

Tia Tommie-
Tia Tommie was an avid reader, a talented seamstress, a skilled gardener, but, most importantly, she was a constant in my life. Every Wednesday after school, at 3 pm sharp, there would be a grey Honda Accord waiting at the very front of the endless line of cars for me to get out of school, even though I didn’t get out until 4. Twice a month, my sisters and I would go and “sleepover,” at her house. Although, as most sleepovers go, there was no sleeping. We would play endless rounds of Loteria (she would always win) and watch Home on the Range on loop. My Tia Tommie was the constant in my life. I never needed to call her to pick me up because I knew she was already there. I could always find her watering her rose bushes in the backyard or engrossed in a Danielle Steel novel. I can’t remember a time when she wasn’t there for my yearly awards ceremony or a band concert. She was there for my Kindergarten graduation and I know, she would have been there for my High School one too. As I grew older, the sleepovers stopped and eventually, I began to drive myself to and from school. However, her love never ceased. The doctors thought it was anemia, but she never got better. As days turned into weeks, Tommie began to get weaker and frail. Soon after, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Back and forth from hospitals and hospices, I witnessed the person who served as my rock my entire life beginning to chip away. I watched her tirelessly fight through treatment after treatment as the cancer showed no mercy on her. One day, my mom didn’t want to take me to see her, and, somehow, I knew why. She may not be able to serve as a physical constant anymore, but her love and warmth will continue to serve as a mental one.

These are my stories, but they are only two out of so many. I want to be able to step out of my own life and experience others’ stories. I want to be able to inspire people to take a step out of their lives and help them realize that none of us are alone in this fight. I want to inspire and be inspired. No one can face this alone. The fight against cancer stems from everyone. It comes from everyone’s stories and memories, hardships faced and obstacles overcome. Every story, every experience, has a small part of the cure embedded in it. I want to ride in order to serve as that connection between everyone’s unique stories, helping people to give their story to something that is greater than all of us and, thus, creating the potential to beat cancer. I ride for Tia Tommie and her unwavering love for her family and for Mr. T and his unwavering passion for music. I ride for the chance that, maybe in our lifetime, we won’t have to long and hurt for our loved ones and that the fear of losing someone else will cease to exist.

If there is anyone who I can ride for, do not hesitate to reach out to me. I would love to hear your story!!

To Alaska and back,