• Route: Ozarks
  • Ride Year: 2023
  • Hometown: Lafayette, CA

About: Hi everyone, I'm Maddie! I'm from the Bay Area in California and made my way to Austin, Texas to study Mechanical Engineering here at UT. I'm currently a junior, focusing my studies on renewable energy, a path I hope to pursue beyond school in work in solar or wind technology. Outside of academics I love nature, which manifests in a ton of hiking, camping and backpacking, picnicking, jumping off of tall things into water, and a recent enthusiasm for outdoor rock climbing. I also love reading, listening to podcasts, playing my saxophone, baking, and exploring Austin.

Why I Ride

Virginia Heim was a kind, strong willed young woman growing up on her family’s farm in Minnesota. She craved adventure and independence beyond the small farm life, so after she graduated college in the 1950s, she struck out with a friend to drive to Alaska and look for jobs. This was just the first of many adventures; Virginia became a nurse, traveled the world, met Peter and became Virginia Estabrook, living a beautiful love story as she raised her two children with him on a sailboat, navigating from San Francisco to Panama to the Caribbean. Later in life she embarked on the adventure that was most important to me, being my grandmother. Virginia, or GG to me, was a huge presence throughout my childhood, taking my sister and I out on the sailboat, camping, to San Francisco, pushing us to explore and supporting us with unconditional love throughout. She instilled in me her love for nature, chocolate chip cookies, good books, creative writing, playing music, and adventure. She was a strong, independent woman before her time, a feminist, a working woman, and a leader and she encouraged me to follow in her footsteps.

When GG was diagnosed with cancer in 2019, I couldn’t wrap my head around it. My tough as nails grandma had already beat breast cancer earlier in life and her eternally positive attitude did not betray the severity of this diagnosis. GG’s decline was shocking to me due to my being away at college. The weakened but still lively GG I knew in the fall when I left for Texas was wheelchair-bound and on oxygen at Christmas. I went back to school with a mounting feeling of anxiety and separation, not knowing how my grandmother was really doing. On a sunny day on the deck of the SAC my mother called me crying, saying GG would not make it till Spring Break. I was so fortunate to be able to catch a flight home that weekend and spend a few days with her. The house was full with her family and friends from around the country and the world who’d come to be with her and support each other. On the last night before I left I kissed her goodnight and cried the whole flight home. My dad called me on March 11, 2020 to tell me GG had passed away at home the night before, with her husband Peter and my mom by her side. My family was devastated but comforted by coming together to remember the joy that Virginia had spread to everyone she knew.

Throughout GG’s sickness, she was fortunate to receive the treatment and care she needed, surrounded by a strong network of those who loved her. I want to dedicate my fundraising efforts for T4K to providing these resources to all patients battling cancer and their families. The financial burden of medical care and transport and housing for family and friends is immense and not achievable for some. No one facing the devastation of a loved one battling cancer should have to worry about the money needed to fight this battle.

I ride for every family facing what mine has faced.

I ride for Peter Estabrook, who only a year after his wife’s passing was diagnosed with colon cancer and faced serious complications during treatment.

I ride in GG’s honor. I know she would be so supportive of me riding for T4K as it embodies so many of her values of community, leadership, and giving back. Growing with this program will help me foster the strength, purpose, empathy and kindness that GG displayed every day of her life.

Nearly 75 years ago Virginia Heim struck out for Alaska, the beginning of her life of adventure. I will ride to recreate GG’s pilgrimage to Alaska and honor her memory and adventurous spirit in a truly powerful way.

I would love to hear about your connection to T4K's mission, and if there is anyone you would like me to ride for, please email me at

To Alaska and Back