- Route: Unassigned
- Ride Year: 2024
- Hometown: Austin, TX
- School Year: Senior
- Major: Electrical & Computer Engineering
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much for visiting my page, I hope you get a glimpse into who I am! My name is Saumya Jain and I am a fourth-year Electrical and Computer Engineering student at The University of Texas at Austin. I was born and raised in Austin, TX (Hook ‘em!) and am an aspiring Software Engineer.
Service and leadership are two pillars of my existence and I am heavily involved in many organizations on campus. I am a director of the Society of First Year Engineers where I cultivate a community and provide mentorship to first year students entering university and am also a director of the Student Engineering Council’s Technical Development team, serving over 19 student organizations.
Aside from school, I've been a dancer my whole life and used to be on a competitive Bollywood Fusion team here at UT (UT Saaya). I love rock climbing, hanging out with friends, eating, traveling (I’m coming off a semester abroad in Madrid!), and enjoying Austin for all it has to offer.
Why I Ride
Digging deep, I can’t remember much other than a whirlwind of grief, confusion, and fear from losing my grandparents to cancer. Worst of all, I can only seem to recall feeling horrible for my mother, who has witnessed not one but both of her parents suffering from some form of cancer from halfway across the world.
My maternal grandmother, my nani, was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was really young so a lot of our interactions were limited, especially with her living in India while I grew up in Austin. I would hear my mom on the phone with her siblings going back and forth deciding on different treatment plans and whether or not it was possible to travel to India to see her mother one last time. Thankfully, she was strong enough to beat it, but it unfortunately returned with full force a couple years later. I would then watch my mother decide again if she could go, afraid of the suffering I would witness and reluctantly took me with her. I was much too young to understand what was going on but walking into the hospital room with my nani in the bed is burned into my mind like it was yesterday. The life seemed to be sucked out of her and she was just barely holding on. I couldn’t imagine what my mom, the strongest woman I know, was feeling as we held back tears and took a selfie with her before she passed away a few short hours later. There is a reason the word cancer sounds so much like "cancel", because it cancels opportunities for people like my nani to come stay in America with us and meet her newest granddaughter.
A few years later, my maternal grandfather, my nana, was diagnosed with prostate cancer and I was so afraid. I was afraid for my nana’s life, but even more for the effect I knew it was going to have on my mom if she were to lose another parent. My mom attributes everything about herself to her dad, including but not limited to: all 5 of the languages she knows, the sports she played, the education she had, the travel experiences she had as a kid, and so much more. Despite living in an extremely patriarchal society, my nana was a heavy advocate for my mom to achieve whatever she wanted. I heard stories about how incredible of a dad he was to her and her siblings, and I definitely see my nana in her from the tiny mannerisms like her humor, personality, and wanderlust attitude. He eventually recovered but was weak and passed away from another complication a couple years later and with him, I noticed a piece of my mom also disappeared.
To ride in the Texas 4000 team would be an absolute honor, where I would ride for not just my grandparents, but also my mother. I would ride for people who have to grieve their loved ones from a world away so that they no longer have to feel so helpless in a situation where an evil disease like cancer takes over their lives. As the ride approaches I hope to meet more people affected by cancer directly and indirectly and I want to use those experiences and cultivate relationships to grow as a person to be more empathetic and provide support to those who may need it. Even writing this story, given the terrible stigmas our community has when talking about disease, I am afraid of how it will be received and I hope that sharing my story will partly break the stigma around it and encourage open conversations. Cancer rips away part of the souls of the people that it touches and if I can take even a little bit of the pain away for others I will do what I can.
Through Texas 4000, I will not only get to ride in honor of my family, but also volunteer and share knowledge with new people I meet. I have always been an avid member of my community, helping out in any way I can and volunteering for all kinds of things. However, somewhere throughout college since I’m pursuing such a technical major, I lost sight of my passion for philanthropy and was focused so much on building a career. I would like an opportunity to bring that love back and riding with Texas 4000 seems like the perfect way to do that. Instead of having a medical degree or having direct impact on policies, I can make a difference by raising awareness to the communities we interact with. The mission means so much to me and I would be proud to raise money for a cause where I know the funds are going to something real and tangible, something that will hopefully make it so that nobody has to feel the pain my mom felt ever again.
If your life has been impacted by cancer, I would be honored to hear your story and dedicate my ride to you or a loved one. Please reach out to me at email@example.com and share!
To Alaska and Back,