In the summer of 2019, I will be riding from The University of Texas at Austin to Anchorage, Alaska with a team of UT students. Together, we are a part of Texas 4000 for Cancer, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization that has been supporting cancer research and support services as the longest annual charity bike ride in the world.
During this 70-day journey, we will ride over 4,500 miles to Alaska in spreading hope, knowledge and charity in the fight against cancer. I hope to inspire communities throughout the continent to join us in the fight against cancer.
Currently, I am fundraising and am pledging to raise at least 4,500 dollars-- a dollar for every mile I ride.
Please consider donating to support my journey and all those affected by cancer.
Now, here's my story...
I am inspired by a young, ambitious neurosurgery resident, Paul Kalanithi, through his memoir “When Breath Becomes Air.” At the age of thirty-six, just completing almost a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Dr. Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic lung cancer.
During his experience Paul reflects:
“I began to realize that coming in such close contact with my own mortality had changed both nothing and everything. Before my cancer was diagnosed, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. After the diagnosis, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. But now I knew it acutely. The problem wasn’t really a scientific one. The fact of death is unsettling. Yet there is no other way to live.”
The problem isn’t a scientific one, as Dr. Kalanithi says, it’s a human one. Yes, understanding cancer as a disease is instrumental, but it is just as important to understand cancer as an experience, a story riddled with close victories and humbling defeats.
And cancer doesn’t choose its victims, so really anyone can fall victim to cancer—that’s what makes it such a terrifying disease. Every day, millions of people have their worlds shaken by its diagnosis. Immediately the student, the mother, the manager, people from all walks of life, fall into the role of the sickly patient, tests run, catheters inserted, and hope lost.
But hope isn’t lost. There are carriers of hope, charity and knowledge; these are people who devote their whole life to fighting this horrible disease. It is our duty to support these people— the people fighting cancer from both fronts, scientifically and personally.
I ride for hope to let people who are touched by cancer know that I am fighting for them. I ride for knowledge to provide communities with the proper information and utilities that can lead to early cancer detection and prevention. I ride for charity to support financially the numerous research labs and the countless number of people who can’t for themselves. I ride for the cancer experience, a story of setbacks and breakthroughs.
I ride for a cancer free world.
Please reach out to me if there is anyone you would like me to ride for at Gonuguntaamrit@gmail.com. Your story matters in the fight against cancer.