- Route: Ozarks
- Ride Year: 2022
- Hometown: Frisco, TX
- School Year: Senior
- Major: Biology
- Email: email@example.com
Hi! Welcome to my page! My name is Krystal and I am currently a biology major with a minor in business. I am on the pre-med track (surprise surprise) and hope to be a pediatric oncologist one day. I feel extremely lucky and blessed to be part of such an amazing organization, one that actively fights the fight against cancer, especially because my life has been touched deeply by cancer.
I am also a Younglife leader for freshmen girls at UT, and it is one of my favorite things in the entire world! Some other things I love are (in no particular order): playing at the park with my friends, walks with my labradoodle puppy (Moose), reading, running around town lake, central market, sourdough bread from easy tiger, the color yellow, living in my blue house with 10 roommates, and psalm 23!
Why I Ride
I have hated cancer since I was 10 years old and found out my mom had breast cancer. I remember my parents coming into my room one night, and telling me that my mom was going to start going to the hospital to start radiation. Far too young to understand cancer and all the implications of what that meant, I just nodded, feeling as if I was in some sort of lucid nightmare. That summer, I walked into an oncology ward for the first time. It is a hard yet beautiful place to be, all at once. Hard in that there is grief in everyone’s eyes, that there is a hardness, formed from the way that life has treated them, from the malignant cells that will not stop dividing, from the side effects of chemotherapy or radiation. But beautiful also, beautiful in the way that I got to spend time with my mom, in one of the darkest times of her life, and that other families would get to do the same with their loved ones. Thankfully, my mom beat her breast cancer the year after.
I hated cancer even more in 2011 when my maternal grandfather got cancer. A pulmonologist in China, I was so lucky in the way that I got to spend time with him when he first found out – I was living in China going to an international school at the time. I hated cancer when we found out it was lymphoma. And even more so when we found out it was stage IV. How could a man who had touched and saved so many lives become afflicted by a disease that is so monstrous? My grandmother found him unconscious on the bathroom floor, which made me despise cancer even more – that she was the one who found him like that, and that she too, had to give up her practice of being a cardiologist to care for him. My grandfather fought long and hard against his cancer for 10 years, and passed away in November of 2020 - two days before I found out I got into Texas4000.
Cancer broke my heart when my paternal grandfather got cancer in 2018. They never found out what kind of cancer it was, as it had metastasized to everywhere in his body. I was a freshman in college, and when cancer took my grandfather’s life, I was not able to go back to China for the funeral due to school. I hated cancer for the grief I felt, but also for the unsaid goodbyes. My “yeye” raised my brother and I, uprooted his life from China and moved to America to help my parents out. Cancer took away my role model, my ping-pong partner, my favorite chef, my favorite person in April of 2019.
I also want to ride for my dear friend Alec Milazzo. He has touched my life in a multitude of ways, and has made me understand cancer on a more complex level, inspiring me to want to pursue pediatric oncology. Alec was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2018, his freshman year at UT. In a time of transition such as college, it is so incredibly hard to get diagnosed and then to have to endure chemo and radiation - yet Alec did it. The pain and suffering that comes with cancer is something I have yet to understand, but something that Alec has taught me about - and has led me in what it looks like to overcome suffering, and to care for other people through it and despite it.
I want to ride to Alaska, and join Texas 4000 because I too, along with so many others, believe that there is a way out. That cancer breaks families, lives, and destroys hope, but that there are still stories to be told from cancer, ones of joy and reunion. That triumph over cancer is not to be belittled, and that in all of its wickedness, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how faint. I want to ride for my mom, my grandfathers, and Alec. There is hope at the end of the tunnel - if only we are brave enough to fight, brave enough to search for the light.
Lastly, to you reader, regardless if cancer has touched your life or not, I end with a quote from Donald Miller that encompasses why I am riding for those I know and those I don't know: "I will love you like God, because of God, mighted by the power of God. I will stop expecting your love, demanding you love, trading for your love, gaming for your love. I will simply love. I am giving myself to you, and tomorrow I will do it again. I suppose the clock itself will wear thin its time before I am ended at this altar of dying and dying again. God risked Himself on me. I will risk myself on you. And together, we will learn to love, and perhaps then, and only then, understand this gravity that drew Him, unto us."
To Alaska and back,