My grandmother was my best friend.
I don't mean it in the way that a grandmother loves a granddaughter - which she did, of course. I mean the type of friendship where you connect to another person on every level. She was one of the strongest women I know (the other being my Amma), and the funniest person I will ever know. She and I would spend hours laughing over progressively more terrible jokes, or have intense discussions over a book we both read. She told me about my family - funny stories about my mom, what it was like for her growing up in Madikeri, and more. She gifted me with a love of Indian classical music, which we sang together, a love for learning, and good coffee. I loved, and love, my grandmother more than words can tell.
She was leaving for the airport to catch a flight to India when she got her diagnosis - ovarian cancer. I knew that my great-grandmother - her mother - had passed away just a few years ago from cancer, but I didn't realize until later how terrifying it must have been for her. She had a surgery to remove the tumour, and stayed with us until she was well enough to fly back to India. It seemed like she was doing okay. Within two weeks of her return, she passed away from a heart attack. It was devastating to my entire family - especially my mother who had previously lost her father to cancer. It was then that I truly committed myself to a future career in oncology.
I ride for my great-grandmother who grew up in difficult conditions, but was still strong every day of her life.
I ride for my grandfather, a man who worked hard to improve the lives of those around him, and passed away before I could meet him.
I ride for my grandmother, a woman who was my best friend and worked incredibly hard to provide me with many of the opportunities I have today.
I ride for my aunt who died too early from a disease that she fought hard against.
I ride for my mother. She has had to deal with the loss of her mother, father, and grandmother to the same disease. She does everything possible to help me succeed, and conducts life-saving research. She is the strongest person I know, and I want to provide her with that same strength and love.
These are the people in my life who have been affected by cancer, but I ride for every person who has had to deal with this disease in any form.
I ride to end cancer.
Please tell me if there is anyone that you would like me to ride in honor of!