• Route: Ozarks
  • Ride Year: 2021
  • Hometown: Dallas, TX.

About: Hello Friends! My name is Abby and I’m a junior at UT studying Youth and Community studies and minoring in Sign Language. I grew up in Dallas, TX being the favorite daughter of my parents, Chrissy and Clay, and following in the footsteps of my two older brothers, Powell and Zach. I’ve spent the last 11 summers of my life as a camper or counselor at Camp Waldemar. Outside Texas 4000, I am a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, youth intern at All Saints Presbyterian Church, and involved in a campus ministry called RUF. I could continue typing out my resume, but instead here are some random things about me:

1. I can literally talk to a wall. Sorry if you get the seat next to me on an airplane -- you’re not gonna get the chance to read that book you brought.
2. My only nickname I’ve ever had is Ybba. When my brothers found out I was dyslexic in 1st grade, they started calling me that and it's stuck ever since.
3. In my past life, I was a baton twirler. I performed at my own birthday parties, so contact me if you need to book some entertainment at your next party.
4. I forgot to mention my other siblings: Colt McCoy, Buddy, Kitty, Small Cat, Cow, Milton, and George Strait. These are my dogs, cats, rabbit, and fish. I am who I am today because of them.
5. One of my favorite series of all time is Harry Potter and it's my biggest pet peeve when people see the movies before reading the books. I got a concussion my senior year of high school and the only thing I could do is listen to audiobooks. Just so you know, I can confirm that the entire Harry Potter series is 127 hours and 39 minutes on tape.

Why I Ride

I have been fortunate in that I have not experienced the loss of someone in my immediate family to cancer. However, the impact cancer had on my mom’s childhood is a very different story. At just the age of six, my mom found out her mother, my grandmother Jeane, had been diagnosed with breast cancer. This diagnosis was only the beginning of a long fight with cancer. In 1978, the breast cancer metastasized to Jeane’s liver and eventually claimed her life. She was only 47 years old, and my mom was only 11.

One of Texas 4000’s main pillars is hope. Romans 5:2-3 says, “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” I ride because I’ve seen so much suffering as a result of cancer, but even more so I have seen the endurance, character, and ultimately hope that can come from it. Similarly, I have seen so much beauty, empathy, and support come through seasons of suffering. This can look like noticing the small gifts in life, or having people rally around you when times are hard. Kacey Musgraves talks about this idea in her song “Rainbow”: “Let go of your umbrella, darlin' I'm just tryin' to tell ya, that there's always been a rainbow hangin' over your head”. This song is a reminder that there are still silver linings to be found in the midst of life’s bad storms, and ultimately light always overcomes darkness.

One of the silver linings that I am excited to grow in through Texas 4000 is the greater ability to sympathize with people who are going through dark times. I am ready to step into other people’s darkness, sit in the trench with them, and be present with them through it. I know what it feels like to have a loved one’s life become threatened by an unexpected illness or disease. I am also thankful for the people who opened up to me about similar situations and gave me glimpses of hope.

I want to ride for Texas 4000 to give people the hope and support they need while they or someone they love fights cancer. The medical community has made great strides in cancer research and treatment since my grandmother's diagnosis 46 years ago.It excites me to see what the next generation of cancer fighters can achieve, and I want to be a part of that mission. I want to ride from Austin to Alaska and hear the stories of those being hurt by cancer. I want to give them hope and let them know that I am riding for them and that I support them in their fight. Cancer is one of the darkest things that affects many people. I want to do anything I can to shine light into that darkness.