- Route: Ozarks
- Ride Year: 2024
- Hometown: Houston, TX
- School Year: Senior
- Major: Neuroscience
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
About: Hello! My name is Aneesha and I’m a senior studying neuroscience from Houston, TX. I am passionate about access to healthcare as well as support outside of the medical setting. On campus, I’m involved in Camp Kesem, an incredible organization that supports children through and beyond their parent’s cancer by providing free summer camps as well as year-round support. I also enjoy working as a medical scribe at Texas Oncology, FRI Peer Mentor, and volunteering at St. David’s Medical Center. In my free time, I love learning new languages, reading, watching movies, and spending time with my dogs at home!
Why I Ride
I ride first and foremost for my mom. My mom was diagnosed with uterine cancer for the first time when I was in fifth grade. For a child, seeing a parent suddenly have to go to hospital visits, get surgery, and in general just not be able to do things that they used to is something that can change your entire view of the world.
Unfortunately, the cancer came back when I was a sophomore in high school. This time, it wasn’t as simple—it had spread to different parts of her body. After major surgery and countless rounds of chemo, the doctors eventually couldn’t do anything anymore. I remember how brutal the chemo was. I remember when she lost her hair. I remember her resilience, and how she never stopped fighting. She is without a doubt the strongest person I have ever known. She passed away in December of 2019, my senior year of high school.
This was by far the most difficult thing I have ever experienced. I felt more alone than ever. I ride for my younger self, to let her know that there are people out there that care and know exactly what she is going through. I ride for my dad, who did so much to care for her and was there for me and my brother when we needed him the most.
My mom and I had always been really close, and I’d always wanted to be like her—hard-working, loving, strong, intelligent. She was, and is, truly the best person I’ve ever known, and I’m glad I was able to grow up with such a light. My mom always saw the beauty in the small things. Her favorite color was brown because that was the color of the earth. She loved to grow all kinds of fruits and vegetables in our garden. She loved spending time with me and my brother. Even when she couldn’t eat, she still made my brother and I snacks to eat after school - though I’m sure that caused her a lot of pain. Growing up, even after her long shifts at the hospital as a physician, she never failed to come home and put my brother and I to sleep. She prioritized family and her unconditional love made home feel like home. When I think of her, I think of her smile because I almost never saw her without one. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. She had always talked about wanting to visit Alaska, so biking to Alaska is even more meaningful to me.
I also ride for my aunt, who passed away from cancer when I was in middle school. I don’t remember everything, but I do remember how painful it was, both for her and her family.
I ride for everyone who has been affected by cancer in any way. I ride for my teammates and their loved ones. I ride for hope, because I know what it’s like to feel like your world is ending. If you would like me to dedicate my ride to a loved one or even just share your story, please reach out to me at email@example.com! I would be more than honored to ride for them.
To Alaska and back,