- Route: Sierra
- Ride Year: 2021
- Hometown: Houston, TX
- School Year: Sophomore
- Major: Human Development and Family Sciences
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Georgia Letchford, and I’m a sophmore here at UT studying Human Development and Family Sciences on the pre-med track. Before I moved to Austin, I spent the first eighteen years of my life in Houston, TX just hanging out with my parents, Tom and Laura, my super fun siblings, Camille and Gabriel, and our two dogs, NOLA and Lily. Outside of Texas 4000, you could find me doing things with Young Life, my sorority, Kappa Delta, or my church (shoutout to the Well!).
But for some lesser known facts about me:
I eat the entire apple (minus the stem and seeds) most of the time. Train is by far my favorite mode of travel, but we will see how this whole biking thing goes. I recently decided that peanut butter is my favorite food. A bucket list item of mine is to visit all of the US National Parks. I love to dance, but will be the first to admit that I am not very good. I run a lot. I love just laying in the sunshine with friends on days when there is nice weather. But mostly, I love just hearing people’s stories because I truly believe both the exciting and hard moments make us all unique.
Why I Ride
I have witnessed the rippling effects that cancer brings. I have witnessed the uncertainty that comes with chemotherapy and treatment options. I have witnessed how cancer affects families and friends. I have seen the sorrow, bitterness, grief, despair, anger, and so much more that cancer carries. And I know my limited interactions with cancer do not even begin to encompass all the people and families affected by cancer in this world. But, I do know that even with my fleeting moments and encounters with cancer are enough for my heart to shatter, for my desire to bring an end to this fierce disease to grow with each story I hear, and for me to desire to ignite some spark of hope for all those affected in some way by cancer.
To me, this bike ride is a physical manifestation of what actively fighting cancer looks like. I remember a vivid moment this summer chatting with a friend who had lost her brother to brain cancer. I remember talking about the mission of Texas 4000 with her and her experiences with cancer. Her strength and vulnerability pushed me to apply in the fall because I realized what a direct impact I could make in people’s lives like my friend. What joy it brings to know that people are fighting in incredible ways to bring an end to your suffering and pain. I remember my first rotation in the oncology unit of a local hospital. I was moved by all the stories of patients that I had met that day. They ranged in age, gender, and background, but were united in the fight against something that had put their life off course. This inspired me to join them in the fight against cancer, a disease that is not picky. And I remember vividly being told throughout my life, "(fill in a name) has been diagnosed cancer." Each time, my stomach dropped a little. The grandparent, the uncle, or the family friend you had grown up to know was suddenly a new statistic. They were the one in four you had heard about. And from these experiences, I know that the people fighting cancer are braver and stronger than I could ever be, and that these statistics are not just numbers, they are people who have families and friends that feel the effects of the diagnosis as well. These experiences in my life are ultimately what pushed me to apply.
Now I know, a seventy day bike ride is not going to cure cancer by itself. But, I ride because it brings hope to the hopeless. I ride because it brings knowledge to those who need it most. I ride because I am determined to fight cancer and bring an end to the suffering that cancer causes worldwide. But most importantly, I ride for those who cannot ride themselves.
I ride for those I know affected by cancer. I ride for those with loved ones affected by cancer. I ride for those who will be affected by cancer in the future. I stand with eager ears to listen and arms open wide to stories I will hear along the way. And I would love to ride for someone you know in any degree of connectivity, so please do not hesitate to reach out to me at any time along this journey and beyond.
To Alaska We Go!