• Route: Sierra
  • Ride Year: 2024
  • Hometown: Flower Mound, TX

About: Hey, it’s Cara! I’m a biomedical engineering and Plan II Honors student here at UT and a born-and-raised Texan from the Dallas area. I love paddle boarding, reading memoirs, playing with dogs, listening to John Green podcasts, attending spin classes, drinking hot chai lattes, going on road trips, experiencing new things, dressing like it’s the ‘70s, and listening to music. (I even have a radio show on KVRX with my friend and fellow 2024 rider, Tanvi Oswal!)

One thing I have always known about myself: I want to spend my life helping others. I hope to utilize my technical engineering skills within healthcare. My goal after graduation is to work in clinical settings as a medical device specialist to assist doctors and patients with the use of life-saving medical technologies. Another major goal of mine is to focus on the interpersonal relationships in my life and maintain strong connections with my friends and family. I believe that life’s value can be found within our relationships and the biggest impacts we make are on those we love. Thus, I am trying to prioritize my relationships as well as my career goals in order to build a life where I can make impacts larger than myself but also close to home.

I like to collect quotes that resonate with me whenever I read or hear them, so I’d like to share one that more beautifully and concisely encapsulates my outlook on life.

“I don’t want to give in to despair; I don’t want to take refuge in detached ridicule of unironized emotion. I don’t want to be cool, if cool means being cold to or distant from the reality of experience. I want to feel what there is to feel while I am here.”
- John Green, The Anthropocene Reviewed

Why I Ride

I joined Texas 4000 because I want to throw myself behind a purpose and do something that is bigger than myself before I leave UT. Although I have not yet lost anyone to cancer, the ever-looming fear of the disease is not unknown to me. I have always been a very anxious person. Growing up, I strategically utilized every birthday and fountain wish on the health and safety of my family. I thought if I closed my eyes and begged hard enough I could make everything be okay all the time. I have lived a fortunate life, but I am not so sure I can attribute that to all those pennies at the bottom of shopping mall fountains. Plain old random misfortune comes for those unexpecting and who do not deserve it all the time. I have watched friends lose family members to cancer. There is nothing more heart wrenching than the loss of a loved one and the all-consuming grief that follows.

My grandmother started smoking at age 14 when there was little public awareness of its dangers. Growing up, I watched her smoke all the time. She would always firmly tell us to never ever smoke as she would light another one; she knew her addiction had permanently damaged her lungs, but she couldn’t stop. After a few failed attempts to quit smoking following her diagnosis of emphysema, she was ultimately diagnosed with small cell lung cancer in 2019. She has been living on oxygen for several years now.

I feel it is important for me to use my ability and privileges I have had in my life to do something for those who may not be able to. I want to provide education about life-saving preventative measures and cancer screenings to promote early detection. I want to spread awareness and help fundraise for cancer research and support services. I want to spread hope for those in the fight. I want to do anything I can to lessen someone’s pain or prevent more people from having to face this devastating disease.

Personally, I think human connection is the most important part of life. I know I am happiest when I'm in genuine conversation with someone, whether a close friend or a stranger I have just met; I relish in finding common experiences between myself and others. I want to meet a variety of people to hear their unique stories and understand experiences outside of my own. I want to be a listener and a shoulder to lean on.

I ride for my grandma. I ride for my friends’ parents and grandparents and siblings who have had cancer. I ride for my parents who have taught me what it means to be a good person and the value of hard work. I ride for my sisters who have always been models to me of grace and strength. I ride for my friends who are supportive and loyal to no end. I ride for my teammates who are strong and willing to be so vulnerable. I ride for everyone who has known grief and loss. I ride for hope and the power of bringing people together in the fight against cancer.

It is an honor to be part of the 2024 Texas 4000 team. I aim to be very intentional with my time in T4K and do what I can for those who may not have the opportunity. I am here for all the grueling realities of experience and to feel what there is to feel while I am here spreading hope, knowledge, and charity in the fight against cancer. I would love nothing more than to ride for you and your loved ones. My inbox is always open if you wish to chat or share your story.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read a bit about me. Never hesitate to reach out!

To Alaska and back,

“The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able to truly care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.”
- David Foster Wallace, “This is Water”