Profile

  • Route: Rockies
  • Ride Year: 2021
  • Hometown: Houston, TX
  • School Year: Senior
  • Major: Supply Chain Management, International Relations and Global Studies
  • Email: rachelshen1@gmail.com

About: Hi everyone, I hope that this page finds you well during these interesting times! I am a 4th year business and liberal arts major with a minor in MIS and certificate in Food and Society (nutrition).

Some things that I enjoy doing on my free time include running, baking, cooking, traveling, and spending quality time with my friends and family. I am a big fan of adventure and trying new things. I am an enneagram 6w7 and myers-briggs ENFJ if you are into personality tests. My favorite foods include dumplings, smoothie bowls, fried tofu, and oat milk lattes.

I am currently involved with other UT organizations such as Alpha Delta Pi, the Austin Stone College Ministry, and the Kendra Scott WEL Institute Student Advisory Board. Throughout my time in college, I have held many leadership roles and participated in Ignite Texas, Mount Nebo, and Target Your Future. I have also been on two different study abroad programs in Athens, Greece and Vienna, Austria.

In addition to the fight against cancer, I am passionate about the fight for social justice and human rights. Although Texas 4000 is not a Christian-affiliated organization, I ride with faith and healing found in Him.

Why I Ride

Cancer is a word that can induce fear and great sadness at the same time. I ride for cancer awareness and fighting the fight of cancer for those who I have known personally, those who my loved ones know personally, those who I don't know at all, and those who don't know they will even be patients in the future.

I want to ride the Texas 4000 for so many people, but I will start off saying why I want to ride for my grandpa who passed away in 2013. Unlike other kids, my childhood story with my grandparents was uniquely different. Many of my friends visited their grandparents in smaller towns or different states, but I was raised by mine in a foreign country. I was born in Beijing, China and developed a very strong relationship with my paternal grandfather and grandmother because they raised me. My grandpa, “Yeye”, was especially close to me, and he spent most of the day with me by walking me to daycare early in the morning, making me breakfast and dinner, and putting me to sleep while telling stories at night. He was also the one who taught me basic arithmetic, daily life skills, easy English words, and long Chinese poems that were impressive for a toddler to recite. I was very sad when I had to leave my grandparents when I was 4 years old. At that time, my dad had finally found a stable job in Houston, and my mom was more than ecstatic to see me again. It was a bittersweet moment for me, because I finally got to see my parents, but I had to leave my beloved grandparents for a world unknown to me across the ocean. I was only able to visit him twice, once when I was 9 years old and once when I was 12, before my grandpa got his life taken away by interstitial cancer. I didn’t know that he had it, because my parents didn’t want to scare me or have a dark aroma in the room, so they resisted telling me about it. They finally broke the news to me when his health started to worsen during fall of 2012. It started to seem more real and concerning when he got really sick around January 2013 and had to be hospitalized. When I had heard about the news, I was devastated and heartbroken. I had loved him so much, and I wanted to be able to talk to him and see him again. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to, and his mind went unconscious when I had called him while he laid in the hospital during his last week of life. For a long time, I resisted this news after his passing, and I tried to not believe that it was true.

This past summer I received the unfortunate news that my study abroad host mom, Jenny, from the time that I stayed in Quebec, had passed away from cancer. Jenny was such an inspiring figure. She was a single mother who worked a full-time job, hosted students from abroad, and studied for a doctorate’s degree while staying active daily. She announced on Facebook that she was just diagnosed with acute leukemia, and I didn’t even know what “Leucemie” was in French when she posted about it. I kept up with her throughout her battle, and I thought that she was going to be cured and well again. Sadly, the disease took her life this June. My one regret that I can still not get over is that she never saw the hand written card that I had written for her. I know that she had fought a good fight, and I think of her and her family often.

Everyone knows someone who has battled or is currently battling cancer, and cancer is deadly, and lives matter. I want to help all of these people who I was touched by in my life with cancer by riding in the Texas 4000. Raising funds, awareness, and spending time and dedication to help a cause is not an easy task, but can be accomplished well with passion and heart into the project. I am dedicated to helping the lives of many affected by cancer through raising at least a dollar for every mile that I will ride through Texas 4000. Through this great cause, I also want to strengthen my mind and body and inspire other people to be a part of this great organization from the bottom of my heart.

I have been shaped through my personal story and involvement with helping this community and helping fight the hardship of cancer. If you would like me to ride in honor of a loved one or someone you know, I would love to do so as well as hear your story.

Other people who I am riding for:
Grace's grandfather
Professor Mike Hasler
Danni's former supervisor Megan
Both of Roger's sisters-in-law
Navya's sister, Isha
Professor Papillion's friend, Bridget Lonseth
Jacob's grandfather and uncle
Simmi's grandmother
Rachel Davis's mom
Preethi's uncle
Lucy's grandma
Lucy's New Zealand grandma
Andrew's friend Elvia Espinoza
Colleen's dad, uncle, and 3 grandparents

From panhandling:
Julie Goldman
Sam Bass
Rena
Grace
Greg