• Route: Sierra
  • Ride Year: 2020
  • Hometown: Round Rock, TX

About: Hi! My name is Rachel and I'm a Senior here at UT Austin. I'm studying MIS with certificates in Computer Science and Nonprofit Management and Social Entrepreneurship. I am passionate about the power of Business and Technology to drive social change and to empower women and I've been able to drive these passions with my studies at school.

Outside of class, I've been a part of Texas Spirits since my first semester at UT. I've been so lucky to find organizations like Spirits and Texas 4000. l spent this past semester studying in Pamplona, Spain and I'm so excited to get back to Austin and dive headfirst into preparing for next summer.

I'm from Round Rock, Texas which makes me so excited for the rides to Round Rock donuts next semester. I love to swim, read, travel, spend time with my family, friends, and dogs, drink coffee, and explore Austin!

I'm so proud to be a part of this team and excited to be starting this journey to Alaska, all in the fight against cancer.

Why I Ride

My first experience with cancer came when I was 4, and my Grandad passed away. My life to that point had been a few months in many different homes, following my Dad in the Marine Corps, so when we went to San Diego one day, I didn’t think anything of it. I realized quickly that someone was missing. I didn’t understand it at the time, all I knew was that I missed him. The next few years I slowly learned what had really happened, that the cigarettes he had smoked since he was 13 had made him very sick. The hardest part of all of it was that my Grandmom was alone, and we know now, was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s. Not only did we lose our Grandad, my Mom’s Father, my Aunt’s brother, but my Grandmom lost her partner, and her caretaker.

After 14 years of cancer free privilege, my life and the lives of so many around me were shaken once again by this awful disease. The summer before my senior year of High School, my Oma was taken from us by stomach cancer. That fall, my uncle was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer and abandoned by his insurance. We lost him to his cancer after less than a year. The next month, a 7 year old boy I taught swim lessons to each summer was diagnosed with a rare and terminal brain cancer. He was given less than a year to live and fought with all he had for 7 long months.

I ride for my Grandad, for my Oma, for my Uncle, for Brock Fleming, and for Roderick Bell. I ride for them, and I ride for those who they left behind so unwillingly, for the ones that cancer took them from. I ride for my Grandmom, who lost her husband, for my Mom who has lost not only her Father, but her brother to this disease. I ride for my Dad who lost his Mother, the woman who raised him and brought him and his sisters to the US after his father died. I ride for the Fleming Family who lost their child. I ride for my best friend, who lost her father in less than a month after diagnosis. I ride to put an end to the terrible disease that took my loved ones, and so many others’ loved ones away from them.

I ride for Mason Schlechte who was passionate and excited to be a part of this organization and this team, who went above and beyond during our semester in Pamplona to be ready for the journey to Alaska.

For them and so many more