• Route: Sierra
  • Ride Year: 2021
  • Hometown: Houston, TX

About: I am passionate about the healthcare system and I hope to improve it by utilizing data and redesigning technology. I also aspire to start a non-profit organization that will provide an avenue to pre-health students to be exposed to non-privilege communities to help close the gap of the health inequalities. In healthcare, I always look forward into advancements and finding cures, however, my focus is on preventative measures. I believe that we should put more effort to understanding the cause of the problems and find ways to minimize the damages.

If I'm not talking about healthcare, I'm probably riding a bike on campus, pulling an all-nighter at the PCL, or rock climbing.

Fun fact: I am the youngest of 8 children, and will be the first to obtain a bachelor degree.

Why I Ride

I never understood what was cancer when I was growing up in the Philippines. The word itself resonated an inevitable death. The main cure that people relied on was either an over the counter antibiotic or prayers.

Lack of knowledge, unhealthy life practices, and harmful living conditions was pervasive. I grew up with neighbors that drink religiously, peers as young as 7 years old having access to cigarettes, and people who can't afford a healthy diet. But this was the common lifestyle, “the culture” of my community. I was surrounded by people who were unaware and unintentionally damaging their body. This was a common practice in my family as well. Fortunately, my family and I moved to America for a better living condition. However, the lifestyles we left were not foreign here in the states. Now, I fear that the product of being uninformed of risk factors as well as preventative measures will haunt my family. I fear for my dad and my brother especially. Smoking for them was as second nature as drinking water. This type of behavior increases the chance of developing cancer and other health complications. Therefore, I want to contribute to the fight against cancer before it affects those I love.

Furthermore, I ride for my best friend and fellow rider, Jason Nguyen. I’ve known Jason since freshman year of high school, and he is one of the most genuine and humble person I’ve met in my life. His stepmom was battling cancer and during those times, it seemed that he was fighting alongside. It was an especially difficult time since I had little understanding of cancer. I didn't know what to say or how to be there for him. But I always remind him that he’ll always have a companion in this battle no matter what. I want to be able to constantly support him through this journey and help him understand that he is not alone. I learned that this disease does not only affect the cancer victims but their loved ones as well.

Lastly, I want to dedicate my ride to one of the most influential figure in my life, Mr. Rick Madsen. He was my history teacher in high school. This man was a legend, everyone in my high school wanted to have him as a teacher despite how rigorous his course was. I recall a time when I made a remark and said,
"I give up, this is too much work," and he calmly joked back and said,
"oh, I've given up on you way long time ago."
At that moment, I was speechless. This was my biggest regret. I never knew those were going to be the last words I'll hear from him. I was aware that he was battling cancer throughout the time and would take time off for it, but I didn't expect it to be a battle he would lose. My witty teenage self would have replied back with,
"Although, you've given up on me, I still haven't given up on you, so get well soon."
But unfortunately, I never had the chance to say this directly to him. I hope he knows that I've never given up on him and never will. Especially on my way to Alaska.

Cancer does not care who it inflicts no matter how great the insurance coverage, how humble a person can be, nor how strong they may be. The battle against cancer does not prevail without knowledge; a conversation needs to start in order to raise more awareness. I ride to inform people about recognizing risk factors, promoting a cancer prevention consciousness, and to provide hope to those afflicted with this disease.

Ride Dedication
I will be wearing a bandana with all the names listed for everyday of the ride.

Rick Madsen
Kristi Lee
Lindsey Carden Wiley
Marty Carden
Glenda Garza
Rosa Maria