• Route: Ozarks
  • Ride Year: 2023
  • Hometown: New Braunfels, TX

About: Hey everybody! My name is Neeraj Akula and I am a sophomore BSA Biology and BA Sociology student on the pre med track, pursuing a career in family medicine.

On campus, I am a member of Longhorns EMS as a certified EMT, an undergraduate research assistant through Life HD lab, and work as a teaching assistant. In addition, I intern/volunteer at Baylor. Scott and White and coach/umpire little league baseball during the summers and the fall.

When I'm not swamped with school work, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends as well as watching college sports, especially football and basketball (absolutely LOVE March Madness). I am a huge fan of the show How I Met Your Mother and you can often catch me quoting Barney Stinson. In addition, I like to stay active through running, sports, and outdoor activities.

That being said, I am extremely thankful to be embarking on this incredible journey with my teammates and cannot wait to make this experience legen-wait for it-dary! On top of that, I thank you for taking the time to visit my page and letting me share my story. Please feel free to contact me at 830-237-0150 or at at any time.

Why I Ride

The word “cancer” brings terror to people’s lives; it is devoid of any joy and has the ability to turn a person’s life upside down. In a way, cancer is synonymous to violence; it is the oppression of life, ruthless and void of humanity. It perpetuates hopelessness, one of the most devastating feelings in the human range of emotions. Since I was a kid, I was told that in every stage of your life, there are 4 essential things that a person needs: something to do, something to hope for, something/someone to love, and something to believe in. Texas 4000 is an epitome of all four of those qualities; I wish to ride because I believe in this cause, a cause that is greater than any one individual, a cause that has the ability to change lives, and more importantly, a cause that is full of hope.

I am extremely blessed that cancer has not directly impacted my family or my friends. However, many people in this world do not have that same privilege. My elder sister was diagnosed with Crohns disease when she was in high school. When the doctor told our family about the diagnosis, I broke down crying and the uncertainty of not knowing what's down the future was unbearable. That pain is like no other; I had lost all mental coherence and felt nothing but despair and anxiety. That was one of the hardest days of my life because I couldn’t imagine my life without my sister. Every single memory I had with her started channeling through my head and I was scared of losing her. Fortunately, through medication, treatment, and wonderful support, she is living a happy and a normal life. Unlike my sister, others who have been diagnosed with cancer cannot say the same. Many people lose their battle with cancer, and the worst part is that thousands of them are victims of healthcare inequities in which they lack access to resources to have a fighting chance. The disparities in our healthcare system highlights the precedence for awareness and funding for our fight against cancer.

Dreams are the seedlings to a reality that is possible and it starts with a purpose, or even an imagination of what the world should be like. I dream of a world that is full of hope and optimism. I dream of a world where cancer doesn’t force family members to bury their loved ones; a world in which treatment costs don’t make getting help a lost cause for a family. Texas 4000 is one of the best ways to effectively reach my dreams-not only by providing me with the means to raise funds for cancer, but also by surrounding me with people who share the same goals and values as me.

As a realist with achievable dreams, I try to scale my aspirations; I want to change the world, but I understand that true change is a result of small and intentional steps. Texas 4000 is a huge step in this direction. I want to show myself and the millions of people who were affected by cancer that I am devoted to them and their cause and there is no better way proving my commitment than a grueling 4500 mile bike ride from Austin to Anchorage. The funds I raise or the amount of miles I log are not appropriate to measure the impact that I can create. What I want through Texas 4000 is too transcendent to measure; a simple gesture of thankfulness and gratitude from others who experienced the pain of loss is why I ride.