I am fortunate to be able to say that none of my immediate family members have been affected by cancer. However, many people in my life – friends, professors, classmates, and teachers – have.
The pivotal moment occurred in the spring of my sophomore year in college. One of my professors walked into our student office and broke the news to us that his wife was just diagnosed with cancer. In that moment, my mind went numb. I did not know how to respond, and I simply wandered back to my desk in shock. As I overcame the initial shock and reflected on the news throughout the next few days, however, I grew indignant. Is there anything I can do? Why did cancer choose them – two of the most genuine, kind-hearted, hard-working people I know? What will happen? These questions about the unknown are not unique to me but rather common to all people affected by cancer.
I was then reminded of all the other people I know who have been affected by cancer. My middle school history teacher’s mother battled breast cancer. My grade-school classmate battled leukemia for years throughout middle and high school. More recently, a classmate’s parents were both diagnosed with cancer just months apart. I could no longer bear to just watch cancer bring pain, stress, and fear upon people and their loved ones. While I had trouble finding the right words to support these people in my life, I knew I had to do something to show them I care. This is why I joined Texas 4000.
I ride for my professor and his wife, my middle school history teacher and her mother, my classmates, and – now – my teammates. I ride for everyone who has been faced with cancer and all the stresses it can cause. I ride to spread hope for a cancer-free future – a hope that will motivate us to continue working towards better treatments and a potential cure. I ride for those who are unable to, and I ride to inspire others to do the same for what they believe in.