Hello everyone! My name is Brandon Nguyen, and I am extremely humbled to announce that I will be fighting cancer by riding with the 2019 Texas 4000 Team! I am a senior studying nutrition with the hopes of one day going to medical school and becoming a doctor. I was born and raised in Houston, but I've loved Austin ever since moving here for college. I love anything related to food, cars, or photography.
I will be biking from Austin, TX to Anchorage, AK over the span of 70 days in the summer of 2019 with my fellow teammates. Am I ready to bike over 4000 miles? Absolutely not! But over the next 18 months, I will be training my hardest to embark on this difficult ride.
The first time cancer touched my life was when my grandfather on my mom’s side of the family died. I remember initially discovering the news of his diagnosis – stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He was past the point of saving, and his doctors had allowed him to return home to pass peacefully. I was in the same house when he finally passed away. When my aunt notified me and my cousin, Teresa, we ran into the room to see him lying motionless in his bed. The moment was so surreal, but I didn’t shed any tears. I didn’t quite know how to feel. The day I cried was when his casket was being lowered into the ground at the funeral. Reality had finally hit me, but I still didn’t understand the situation. I was never going to see my grandfather again, but why? Why did cancer take him?
The next time cancer entered my life was when my cousin Teresa was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of nine. I was thirteen years old then, and the diagnosis completely shocked me. I had grown up playing with Teresa, and she was still so young. I had read about childhood leukemia in articles, but I never would have thought that it would affect someone so close to me. As a form of twisted irony, my cousin was faced with the same disease that killed our grandfather years ago. I was terrified, but I could only imagine how she felt. When I visited her in the hospital, I saw a much darker side of cancer. With my grandfather, I saw someone who seemingly passed at ease. With Teresa, I remember all the horrible details. Her skin was pale and cold. She laid there with an expressionless face, staring at the ceiling. There were multiple tubes coming in and out of her, and an electrocardiogram beeped steadily alongside her. She had already begun her chemotherapy, and her bald scalp reflected that. She was barely recognizable as the energetic, sassy girl that I grew up with. In the moment, I felt completely helpless. Like my grandfather before her, Teresa was at the mercy of a disease that had no cure. Unlike my grandfather, she had barely lived a decade. The situation was bleak, but there was still hope. The leukemia was discovered fairly early on, and her doctors were pursuing aggressive treatment.
A couple years would pass before I saw Teresa with hair on her head. By a miracle of luck and modern day medicine, her cancer was subdued and she was in remission. Today, Teresa is the same sassy cousin that I knew growing up.
My personal experiences with cancer and how they’ve affected my family motivate me to ride for Texas 4000. I also realize that my experiences aren’t unique. Cancer affects millions of people and their families around the world. Many people have stories of their own. Texas 4000’s mission is so important to me for this reason. I strive to increase knowledge about cancer and its prevention, to spread hope to those who need it most, and to raise charity with the aim of one day eliminating cancer.
As a rider, I am part of a group of individuals impassioned by the same desire to battle cancer. Together, I know we have the power to achieve a truly remarkable impact. I want our ride to spread hope across the globe, whether it be to bystanders we come across or cancer patients themselves. I hope that our ride will inspire others to take action in the fight against cancer.
I ride for my grandfather, my cousin, and for those who can’t.
For T4K, each rider fundraises a dollar per mile that we ride for cancer research. I’ve set my fundraising goal at $5,000, and any donation is greatly appreciated!
I realize that not everyone may have the financial means to donate, so please talk to me about the other ways that you can help fight cancer through our pillars of hope, knowledge, and charity. If you have a story that you want to share or know someone you want me to ride for, please reach out to me!
Thank you for supporting my ride!