- Route: Rockies
- Ride Year: 2023
- Hometown: Richardson, TX
- School Year: Sophomore
- Major: Human Development & Family Sciences
- Email: email@example.com
Hi friends! My name is Ashlyn Gardner, and I'm from a lesser-known suburb of Dallas called Richardson. Before Texas became my home, I was adopted from Beihai, China when I was eleven months old and moved to Kansas where my parents grew up. Being adopted doesn't solely define me, though I believe it is a gift that's woven throughout my identity.
I'm someone that appreciates random acts of physical spontaneity, such as attending an impromptu kickboxing class or attempting partner acro-yoga in my room at 3 AM. As an avid Netflix binger, I love to curl up in my tacky pajamas and explore new movies — perhaps Marvel or a cheesy rom-com. I'm also a bit of a neat freak...my roommate can attest to this. While cleaning helps me unwind, a light stroll around campus will surely pull me out of my frenzy.
When I'm not staring at my laptop for hours on end, I enjoy early morning workouts at the gym, trying new eateries around Austin, and watching my favorite comfort show Friends. Here at UT, I've found my home as a volunteer at St. David's Medical Center, a student in the Freshman Research Initiative, a Ronald McDonald House Charities volunteer at Dell Children's Medical Center — and most of all, a rider and Volunteer Coordinator for Texas 4000.
I sincerely thank you for visiting my page and look forward to embarking on this journey with my fellow teammates! Please do not hesitate to reach out via email, text, or even carrier pigeon if you would like to share your story. It would be my honor to dedicate my ride to you or a loved one touched by cancer.
Why I Ride
Texas 4000 knows that change starts with a commitment to fighting cancer. I want to pioneer new networks of change in the community. I want to be developing outreach programs that connect my team with the communities they serve. My personal goal of advancing cancer research supports Texas 4000’s dedication to educating diverse populations about the importance of living a healthy and fulfilled life.
In high school, I joined the fight against cancer through Relay For Life — an annual charity walk hosted by the American Cancer Society. On my school’s campus, my peers and I encouraged students to unite their voices to inspire the “Next Generation of Relayers.” I now dream of attending medical school to bridge healthcare and service, while simultaneously providing financially accessible treatment to those in need.
Most importantly, I will ride to honor my grandpa and preserve his memory. Cancer chips away at humanity, reducing once-dynamic personalities into the very tumor that now defines them. My own proximity to cancer has helped me empathize with others and develop a personal connection to the cause. Witnessing my grandpa succumb to the negative side effects of chemotherapy was almost unbearable. I remember crouching behind a sofa, peering over a cushion to catch a glimpse of him. Wrapped in a navy robe, he sat motionless. With every feeble breath, a piece of him withered away. He, like so many before, fell victim to this disease. Being forced to idly stand by weighed heavy on my heart. I became consumed with one prevailing feeling: hopelessness.
I will ride for the people that feel they have become a shell to cancer. I will ride to take back the power that cancer holds by showing that the human spirit is resilient. I will ride for anyone who believes that a simple idea can manifest itself into a great force for change. Biking to Alaska is a symbol of perseverance, a challenge that pushes you physically, mentally, and emotionally. I hope to inspire others to take a stand with me and work toward a cancer-free world, one mile at a time.
To Alaska and Back,