- Route: Rockies
- Ride Year: 2024
- Hometown: Dallas, TX
- School Year: Junior
- Major: Speech Language Pathology
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
About: Hey y'all! My name is Ciara (pronounced Keer-ah) and I'm from Dallas, TX. I have a twin sister named Maura and a very lovely dog, Sushi Ryan. My family all lives in Houston, so I spend every long weekend I can on 290. I'm a current Senior majoring in Speech Language Pathology. In addition to SLH, I'm getting two minors in American Sign Language and Disability Studies. On campus, I'm involved in student government and communication council. I love all things classic rock, green, anything resembling a clearance section, and I'm super passionate about disability advocacy. After my time here on the 40 acres, I hope to pursue graduate degrees in Educational Policy and Speech Language Pathology.
Why I Ride
I grew up in Dallas, TX. I was a pretty active kid, I started off in gymnastics, however that was cut short because I lacked the flexibility necessary to excel in the sport. I fell in love with swimming, and a lot of family vacations were marked by an annual race that occurred between my dad, my twin, and myself. I would always lose, not because I wasn’t fast enough, but because my dad would pull me under the water if he thought I had a chance of winning.
I was raised to value my health, be grateful for the opportunities I’ve been afforded, and do what I can to help others. One of the greatest contributing factors to an early diagnosis is access to equitable healthcare. Illnesses like Cancer continue to disproportionately affect marginalized populations, with Cancer mortality rates being the highest in Black and Indigenous communities.
I have family and friends, near and far who’ve experienced grave loss due to Cancer, one person in particular being my close friend Jackson. Jackson recently lost his dad to Cancer, a loss that no one anticipated. As tragic as this loss was for Jackson, his resilience and strength is nothing short of admirable.
One of my most memorable childhood experiences was visiting London in 2011. Besides the usual touristy stuff, my family got to visit one of my dad’s old friends, Ciara O’Connor. My mom named me after her because she was always a good and loyal friend to dad and an early advocate of their relationship. Ciara died of Cancer the following year so that trip will forever hold a special place in our hearts.
My 91 year-old grandfather, who survived his wife of 60 years, two revolutions, and a dozen hurricanes says that life is for the living, yet that the memories of those who have gone before us and their bravery in the face of illness, pain, and trial can serve as the light that keep us going. I’ll ride for them, but also to remind myself that I can be a light and a voice for others.
To Alaska and back,