- Route: Ozarks
- Ride Year: 2022
- Hometown: Victoria, TX
- School Year: Sophomore
- Major: Public Health
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A different version of me exists in the minds of everyone who knows me—isn’t that crazy to think about? How many different minds I exist in? All the different ways that people view me? Instead of writing a generic description about myself, I’m going to expand on some of the things I love and from that, I hope you can create a small glimpse in your mind as to who I am.
I love that you are here today, exploring the Texas 4000 website and learning about why I ride. My name is Kashish (she/her) and I am a freshman at UT, still exploring my major and slowly figuring out what I want to do in my life.
I love art—writing is my favorite form of it. I write to document my feelings, my thoughts, my stories, my existence. If I don’t document them, they will cease to exist when I am gone. This thought constantly runs through my mind, which is part of why I have always wanted to write a book—I hope that one day, this dream becomes a reality.
I love waking up every morning and going to sleep every night knowing that I was raised by true superheroes. My parents, like many immigrants, left their families and came into the new world with no guidance, no money, not even an ounce of knowledge of what the American life was like—yet together, they made a home out of the little they had and gave my siblings and I everything we’ve ever wanted. They made the impossible, possible, and no matter how hard I try, I will never be able to fully grasp how they did it. I don’t think I could ever be half as successful as them, when I have twice the opportunities than they ever had.
I love the mobility I am fortunate enough to have. With this, I get to do some of my favorite things that bring me true joy. I get to play tennis with my dad, eat maggi with my siblings, massage oil in my mom’s hair, write letters to my friends, give warm hugs to the people I meet, and bike with my incredible teammates.
When I bike to Alaska in June 2022, I am taking a journal with me. In the first pages of that journal, I will write a list of all the people I am dedicating my ride to. I’m going to carry this physical copy with me throughout the states and up to Alaska. As I meet new people along the ride and hear their stories, I will add their names to my journal. Every night before I sleep, I will read these names aloud and then write about my day. If there is anyone you want me to dedicate a mile of my ride to or if you just want to hear more about the Texas 4000 mission, please feel free to email me @email@example.com. (Please reach out, it will make my day!!) I will be more than honored to add their name in my journal—I would love to share their story to Alaska and back.
Why I Ride
Stories are a gift. Hearing the experiences of others and painting pictures of the descriptions they describe to you inside your own mind is a gift. The unique interpretations we all make of them is a gift. I have a story I want to share with all of you.
4 years ago, I took a teen leadership class. I took this class solely because everyone adored the teacher who taught it. Little did we know, that teacher retired that same year and someone new was teaching the class. Little did I know, this new teacher would change my life.
Ms. Hale is someone who always said she was proud of me. Out of everyone else in the room, I was always the one she encouraged to try new things and take on new challenges; to always ‘Give em Hale’ in everything I do. She grilled in my head that winners work harder. That I should always work harder. And I always have since. She wrote this saying in one of her favorite books that she would always have in class and gave it to me at the end of the year at awards ceremony. She chose me as top teen leadership student of the year—I was her first student of the year in her first year of teaching in Victoria. The hug she gave me on stage that night is one I still so vividly remember. 4 years ago, Ms. Hale was the warmth during a cold time in my life.
Unfortunately, with busy life and COVID-19, we lost touch. But during my senior year of high school, I emailed her and although I hadn’t spoken to her in years, she was the first teacher that crossed my mind when I sought comfort to tell one of my biggest endeavors to. When the time came to finally visit her, I noticed she looked completely different—her head was shaved every inch and a bulky cast on her left arm strongly weighed her fragile body down. My excitement instantly turned into shock, disbelief, sorrow. I discovered that she was diagnosed with breast cancer weeks prior. I always knew cancer was destructive, but I never truly felt the consequences in the way I did in that moment. That day, I realized the true value of life.
I’m grateful for this organization in many ways, but especially how it can serve as a way for me to reconnect with Ms. Hale. She has faced so much adversity, yet gives more than what she has. She’s always been selfless like that. She really is one ‘hale’ of a teacher, and an individual. Educators like her are walking inspirations. They are constant reminders of hope. However, despite her drive and persistency, I know deep down she struggles a lot; everyone who has cancer does. I know she’s battled many silent nights, and the thought of that makes me want to crawl underneath my covers and weep. But dwelling isn’t going to change anything, which is why I wanted to join this team. Biking to Alaska isn’t my end goal—it’s everything I do in between. I want to raise money for cancer research, treatment, and education, hear people’s stories to share around the continent, and spread hope. That is my mission.
I ride for Gina Hale.
I ride for the day where the hope I spread becomes a reality.
I ride for a world where the word ‘cancer’ will be associated with a found cure.
I ride for my parents who are the most resilient and hardworking people in my life. Without all of their support and sacrifices, I wouldn’t have even had the privilege to apply and be a part of this remarkable non-profit today.
I ride for all of my teammates that I hope to all meet one day outside of a computer screen.
I ride for all the families that have been impacted or lost someone to COVID-19.
I ride for hope, charity, knowledge.
I ride for a better tomorrow.
Beyond Alaska and back,