Profile

  • Route: Ozarks
  • Ride Year: 2022
  • Hometown: Plano, TX

About: Hi! Thank you so much for taking the time to visit my page. As you can tell from my profile so far, my name is Richa John, and 90% of the time, you will find a bright-eyed smile resting on my face (the other 10% of the time is a slight frown because I am also a sensitive person). I am very fortunate to have two wonderful and supportive parents, Manju and John, and an older brother who has helped me develop thicker skin, Thomas. Despite being a small girl, I am filled with great energy, passion, and positivity and constantly looking for ways to brighten other people’s days through humor and kindness. In my free time, I love to try new recipes, watch videos on new recipes, be active, and explore my artistic side through crafts, painting, and graphic design. For most of my life, I have incorporated some sort of physical activity into my daily routine, from ballet to tennis to (recently) jump roping. When I feel stressed or anxious, I like to go on long drives by myself while blasting my car’s sound system to my favorite songs and screaming their lyrics. Last year, I spent about 92,000 minutes listening to music, according to Spotify, so yeah I am a big fan of all sorts of tunes. Some of my favorite moments in college have been wholesome nights with my closest friends, getting food from restaurants, watching movies, and having dance parties in an apartment.

Other than being a junior Biochemistry major, I am also completing a Spanish for the Medical Professions certificate and I’m on track to write a thesis through the Polymathic Honors Scholars program. I currently serve as the Alumni, Market & Public Relations coordinator for Camp Kesem, a student-run organization that provides a free summer camp for children affected by a parent’s cancer, and am a dancer on Texas Mohini, an all-girls Bollywood fusion dance team. Additionally, I plan on delving into cancer research by participating in MD Anderson’s CPRIT-CURE program in the coming summer.

I am in a constant search for opportunities to grow as an individual and explore my interests. My only desire in life is to impact others in a really profound way, and I truly believe Texas 4000 is one of the first significant steps to do so.

Why I Ride

The reason I ride takes root in my experiences as a counselor and coordinator for another wonderful organization on campus called Camp Kesem, a non-profit organization that provides year round support and a free week of summer camp to children affected by a parent’s cancer. While I feel very fortunate to be able to say that I personally have not witnessed the effect of cancer on a loved one, there is something unique about the cancer community that has sparked a desire in me to serve and bring light into the lives of those affected. Through my time in Camp Kesem, I realized how cancer is traumatizing not only for the patients, but for the loved ones standing close by and watching them as well, and I especially developed a deeper understanding of this after hearing the heartbreaking stories of my sweet Green Unit campers (ages 10 - 11). In addition to feeling constant helplessness as these children watch their parents transform into unrecognizable people in front of their eyes due to treatments and surgeries, these children then go to school to be surrounded by other students who do not understand their emotions and childhood trauma. Often, these children face bullying, experience tension in family dynamics, and mature at a faster rate by taking on adult roles. By stealing their right to a fun and carefree childhood, cancer destroys the most important foundation set in the early years of an innocent child. Yet, I have found that in times of darkness, it allows space for light and hope. As a counselor, I feel honored to be able to bring laughter and joy to the hearts of many campers while reminding them that they are not alone in their journey. Through my time in Camp Kesem, I even realized how to use my natural disposition to spread happiness and cheer to instill hope in the lives of others. In fact, the true power of our work dawned on me when I heard that many parents have regarded Camp Kesem to be a treatment in itself.

Once I discovered Texas 4000 and its purpose, I realized that I can make a greater impact on the cancer community by fighting the issue at its root. By spreading awareness and fundraising in support of cancer research (preventive, clinical, and many other types), I am able to support the current efforts to end the prevalence of cancer. Every moment with this team fills me with inspiration and joy as I am so grateful to be working with and developing friendships with students who are so passionate about making a difference in the world. So, I ride not only for my campers, their parents, and everyone else who I have met who has been affected by cancer, but now for all my teammates and those they ride for as well.

To Alaska and back <3