- Route: Sierra
- Ride Year: 2020
- Hometown: New Orleans, LA
- School Year: Junior
- Major: Plan II & Chemistry
Hey y'all! My name is Raymond, or Ray for short! Some baseline things you need to know about me: my favorite food is ice cream, I am gluten-free, and I love my family more than anything.
I was born and raised in New Orleans (Who Dat! This year is our year!) until 2005 when Hurricane Katrina forced my family to move from the beautiful land of southern Louisiana to Dallas, Texas. Growing up in Dallas was a great experience, but I love being a transplant Austinite.
When I'm not eating, studying, or sleeping, you can find me involved with various activities across campus. I volunteer at the local KIPP middle school, serve as the co-president of Plan II Pre-Medical Society, and am the manager and vice president of the UT Men's Soccer team. At heart, I love helping people and cannot wait to bike across the country to fight cancer!
Why I Ride
When I wrote my Texas 4000 application, I envisioned riding for members of my family on my mom's side, specifically my cousin Mark who passed away from Hodgkin's Lymphoma before I was born and his mother Evelyn who is currently battling metastatic breast cancer. Aunt Evelyn is like a grandmother to me, and seeing her fight cancer with every ounce of her body has been inspiring. I keep Mark and Evelyn in my thoughts in my ride and cherish their warm memories to motivate me to ride.
But that's not the whole story; my reason for riding has evolved since I joined Texas 4000 in the Fall of 2018.
In mid-December 2018, a scan found a cancerous mass on my dad's kidney. The news shook my family to our core, we were absolutely gutted. After absorbing the initial shock, we attacked the diagnosis and were determined to beat cancer.
My dad underwent a partial nephrectomy to resect the tumor from his kidney in late January of 2019. He has been making a steady recovery and is already back to work and loving life like his cheery old self. As of February 2020, more than a year after diagnosis, I can proudly say my dad is cancer-free. While the road ahead remains uncertain, I ride on with the pillars of hope, knowledge, and charity to fight cancer every single mile.
I ride for Dad, Mark, and Evelyn.
Additionally, I ride for the following people who've had an impact on me and my friends throughout my journey as a member of Texas 4000:
Papa John Bopp
Billy and his sister