- Route: Ozarks
- Ride Year: 2023
- Hometown: Frisco
- School Year: Senior
- Major: MIS
- Email: email@example.com
Hi there! My name's Esther. ツ When I'm not doing student-things you can find me exchanging funny stories with friends, reading a good book (currently on a history/memoir binge), going for a nice run, strumming my silly little guitar, or enjoying new music and art/photography. Also an avid cloud-watcher. ☁ I'm so grateful a community like T4K exists at UT and am eager to spread hope and raise awareness about cancer throughout North America with my team: speaking with local communities, creating programming about preventive care and health, + raising money to go towards research and support organizations.
I would love to hear your story and ride for you. Please don't hesitate to reach out! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org ♥
Why I Ride
I ride for my father, Mr. Frank. This year, he was unexpectedly diagnosed with colon cancer metastasized to the liver and passed away a week later.
In this life, the most important thing is the people you love and the time you have with them. I ride because I'm angry and I am at a loss of words each day. There is no justice or grace in all of this. It's simply devastation. Heartbreaking, ruthless, unbearable sorrow. It sounds like a harrowing flatline, a video dial melody utterly dystopian as you fight with your family for last moments that your dad isn't even conscious for. And it feels irreconcilable to continue on now in a world without Dad. All of the to-be moments: finally being able to buy him a big house and take care of him when I'm older like we'd talk about years ago on our staircase, get him a dog (I’d buy him 20) that he's always wanted, see me walk across the stage, watch him destroy my husband to-be on the dance floor during the father-daughter dance like he did for my sister should I ever decide I’d like to marry. Just to be able to call him up on the phone and tell him about my day.
My dad, the energetic, lively guy. Light of every room, life of every party. The one who believed in me the most. First to the dance floor and to the mic. THE Zumba dancer, bearer of a suitcase full of souvenirs, the voice that sang and rang loud through the halls and reached every far corner of our home. The man who kept our lawn, filled our house with books, thoughtful design and furniture. The one who left his job multiple times to take care of his sick mother go through chemo, who worked endlessly to find some work thereafter and provide for all of us. My loving father, tireless provider, who wiped away my tears and praised my scribbles on the wall, who made me the lemon tea I make every morning and for my friends. My father with the cool iPhone 4 that all the kids at church had the password to to play games. My dad, who was the most selfless and incredible friend and host to strangers and loved ones alike, so much so that in his passing, story after story of his kindness and devotion came back to us like a sentimental pour of remembrance.
My father, who passed down to us his heirlooms: servant heart, sense of humor, penchant for the camera and written word, silliness, amongst other things. My father, who loved to see the world and inspired me to go see some of it for myself; my Robin Williams, the musical poet I could easily laugh with and feel uplifted and inspired by.
That easy and endless laughter, how I miss it.
My father who let me wear his shirts and messenger bags to school when they were 10 sizes too big, who would listen to me read back my 3rd grade short stories and essays. My father who loves me.
I wish he didn’t have to go through so much pain for so long, and to bear it alone.
Just one last hug. One more day, one more hour. I wish I could have known. One last conversation in our backyard. It'd be sunny, another beautiful Thursday morning, trees leaning this way and that to let the sun shine through onto our skin and color our most pleasant conversation. He'd tell me everything I need to know, and I'd tell him how much I love him. How I hate for him to go. I'd tell him everything.
I ride and I spread awareness as an act of love for my dad. For his strength, his love, his standalone spirit, incredible heart. For his love for movement, the world, and for others. This, an Ode to My Dear Dad.
I ride for Francesca, a woman I met while backpacking through Italy, inspired by her long, aggressive fight and win (!!!) over breast cancer. I ride for her and her family, Alberto, their kids, her mother, whom all took care of me and *were my family* when I could not be with my own upon receiving news of my dad's diagnosis or hear word from my own mom. I am forever indebted to them for their compassion and love (for a then stranger, no less) in my darkest hour.
I ride for all of those past and presently affected by cancer, for those grieving for their loved ones, for all the patients going through hellish, unspeakable pain, and those that have to witness their everythings go through it all. I ride especially for all of those whose lives have been lost during COVID-19, and for those struggling with anger that this virus separated them from family or from being there for the final Farewell.
I ride for those that are environmentally and/or financially disadvantaged against cancer.
I ride for those struggling within our flawed healthcare system, littered with foregone routinely doctor’s visits that could lead to proper preventive care or early diagnosis. It’s hard not to think about if he’d still be here now— him and so many more.
I ride for my middle/high school percussion instructor who also passed away this summer, a brilliant teacher who mentored and instilled in all of us a love for music. And I ride for the family that I didn't get a chance to know well before cancer took them: my cousin, a woman who passionately pursued law and was applying to become a doctor because all she wanted to do was serve others. For my grandma, who flew from Taiwan to take care of me as a newborn. For my uncle, a dentist that loved to travel, father of 3 kids.
If you have been personally affected or know someone that has been affected by cancer, my heart goes out to you; you are not alone. We are all riding for you.
To Alaska and back (with love),