A few months ago, I didn’t even know how to ride a bike. So, you may be wondering why I’ll be spending next summer participating in Texas 4000 – the world’s longest annual charity bike ride. While jumping from riding a tricycle around my backyard to biking 4,500+ miles from Austin, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska is certainly intimidating, I know that spending the next year training and riding to raise money for cancer research is certainly worth the challenge.
It’s hard to find someone whose life or that of a loved one has not been affected by cancer. For me, cancer hit hardest two years ago, when my grandpa was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma. Almost overnight, the pressure his tumors placed on his brain shifted his personality. Just 6 weeks later, he was gone forever. I was stunned by just how quickly, viciously, and permanently cancer can change lives. But while cancer can remind us of our fragility, it can also remind us of our strength and the need to take advantage of every moment we have to make the world a better place.
Watching my grandpa and many others fight this disease has ranged from the heart-wrenching to the inspiring, but each and every story proves one thing – cancer does not discriminate. In a time when we are so focused on our differences, I know that fighting such a monumental and universal battle together means that nothing can stop us.
My 90 teammates and I will set off on our 70-day journey at the beginning of next June. Over the next months of training and along the ride, not only will we be fundraising, but we will be giving programs discussing cancer prevention, along with learning and sharing the stories of those who have fought cancer.
I ask for your support in this effort, and no amount is too small to make a difference. Whether or not you are able to donate at this time, I invite you to sign up for email updates on my journey and to share stories with me of your loved ones who have fought cancer on this form (https://goo.gl/forms/9lkpzx8d4WijGKgl2) so that I can ride for them next summer. And if you are able, your donation would mean the world to me.