- Route: Sierra
- Ride Year: 2022
- Hometown: Dallas, Texas
- School Year: Senior
- Major: Plan II and Marketing
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey there, Abbey here. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my page and gain a better understanding of our mission here at Texas 4000.
When I’m in Austin and not in class, I’m most likely trail running or climbing at the Greenbelt, rollerblading through Walnut Creek Trail, biking around with pals, or helping to run an outdoor trip through UT’s Outdoor Program.
When school’s not in session, I’m usually taking off for some sort of last-minute road trip, whether that’s to hike or trail run or climb or kayak or ski or bike.
If the weather is bad, I’m probably reading a fiction novel, testing out a new recipe, writing a letter, or scheming on plans for sunny days ahead.
I’ve spent the past two summers working as a whitewater raft guide on the Salmon River in Idaho, which is a place that now feels like a second home to me. Through those summers and my own personal experiences, I’ve seen the empowerment and inspiration that accompanies overcoming physical challenges and facing fears. In Idaho, we have a saying for when the going gets tough: “we can do hard things.” I’m excited to continue doing hard things for a great cause with T4K and all of the incredible people that it has brought to my life.
Why I Ride
They say that time heals all. However, in the context of the fight against cancer, the opposite is true. This illness is often a battle against time: people are diagnosed far too late, young people lose their lives far too early, there are only so many precious moments that can be spent with someone whose life is always on the line. If someone from the past would have made a prediction about the cure for cancer in the future, I am certain that they would have said that we would have had it figured out by now. But no, we are still battling. It is about time, however, that we put down our defenses, exchanging them for the eternal sense of security that rests in a cure.
I have always had a great sense of adventure, and traveling has been an outlet to satisfy my desire for chasing thrills. Nonetheless, riding my bike to Alaska, while indefinitely thrilling, would be motivated by another set of core values.
First, I would ride to create community. To me, there is no better feeling in the world than the ability to look around the room and think, “these people understand me.” There is comfort and peace in being surrounded by people who manifest understanding. Many times, those fighting against cancer lack this luxury. Battling a mysterious illness, whose code cannot be cracked even on a molecular level, is no doubt confusing. Moreover, it creates a sense of loneliness. I would ride to create community and bonds amongst those fighting against cancer, both here in Austin, as well as wherever the road may take me. I am a firm believer that we do not accomplish anything in this world on our own, but our success are ensured by our support systems. My ride to Alaska would be granted only through those who know me and understand me. I would hope to extend this same support to those who are isolated from fighting an invisible and evil disease.
Additionally, I would ride for education. On a global level, there is a direct correlation between the level of education that a citizenry has and the amount and severity of health issues within their country. While the United States is a first-world country, many of our citizens still lack foundational knowledge that prevents cancer. People still fail to protect their skin from the sun, some unaware of what the harsh rays can do. People still use tobacco products, ignorant to their effects. And while we certifiably know that both of these aforementioned dangers are cancer-causing, there is a slew of other factors that lead to this disease that are still waiting to be proven. I would ride both to generate funds that can lead to education in the sense of scientific discoveries and the proliferation of new knowledge, but also to educate those who lack exposure to foundational knowledge about cancer prevention.
Cancer is an equalizer in the sense that we all know someone who has been affected. And, as we have all known people who have been affected by cancer, we also all know that no one is deserving.
I would ride for my grandmother, a woman who took her vitamins, covered herself up in the sun, exercised daily, and performed a whole slew of other activities that are supposed to further life longevity. Yet, cancer could care less that she took care of herself, and it took her life anyway.
I would ride for my mom, whose body I saw stitched up many times from the removal of cancer cells, or of potential ones. The word “thankfully” is not even enough to say how grateful I am that cancer has not affected her more seriously.
I would ride because I could keep going, but my list would far exceed the word count.
I would ride for people. I would ride for education. I would ride for community. Mostly, I would ride because it is about time that we finally beat a disease that has done so much damage. Cancer can only be overcome if we all fight together.