• Route: Rockies
  • Ride Year: 2024
  • Hometown: Sugar Land, TX

About: "Smiley": my nickname as a kid, and the motto I try to bring into my everyday life now as a 21 year old Finance and BHP major at UT Austin. Whether I'm trying a new coffee shop, taking a long walk by Lady Bird Lake, or pretending I'm on Masterchef in my own apartment, I'm excited to explore new things, meet new people, and learn more about myself and the world around me. Now as a senior, I am beyond blessed to be a part of an amazing organization like Texas 4000, getting the chance to meet new people who are all dedicated to an amazing cause and embody the leadership skills of the next generation. As I take this challenge on, I look forward to meeting those who have firsthand experience with cancer, or any experience at all, and learn as much as I can from them. This is one of the best communities I could ask for, and I can't wait to help it expand in the years to come.

Why I Ride

I ride for Emine Ciftci. Not to be confused with myself, my grandma (and namesake) serves as the biggest inspiration in everything I do. As a single mother to my dad, my uncle, and my aunt, she created an amazing life for my dad in a one room, one bed apartment in Sanliurfa, one of the poorest cities in Turkey. With her constant focus on what the family would eat that day, my grandma, and many other individuals around the world, don't have the access, knowledge, or focus to prioritize healthy practices, prevention, and treatment.

I ride for Sevil and Mustafa Goksu. Coming to the United States in 1990, they entered an entirely new culture with no high school diplomas or support systems. With new stressors and lack of knowledge, both of my mother's parents have developed numerous health issues throughout their years in Atlanta, Georgia, including diabetes, obesity, sleep apnea, and more. Without the right community, they've both struggled to stay healthy and understand the importance of their health.

All three grandparents, with a lack of knowledge and community stemming from poor communities, inspires me to build up these types of communities around the world and provide them with information, access, hope, treatment, and awareness.

I ride for my dad, Mahmut Ciftci.
I ride for my mom, Zeynep Ciftci.
I ride for my siblings, Emre and Yasemin Ciftci.
I ride for Aunt Peggy.
I ride for Birsen Teyze.
I ride for Aysel Hala.
I ride for Sevgi Teyze and her mother.
I ride for Mrs. Corrington, mother of one of Elkins High Schools best professors.
I ride for all those who donate and show their support however possible.
I ride for the entire Texas 4000 team.