T4K breaks down its goals into the effort to spread hope, knowledge, and charity. Of those, hope is most important to me. I see it manifest itself all around me: in my friends and family, in my boss at work, in my professors, in the man who ran the last eight miles of my most recent marathon right next to me. To me, hope is allyship, it's solidarity, accountability, affirmation.
Trying to summarize the interactions I've had and provide a limited list of the people who give me hope is a challenge, but there are a few people I can pinpoint having lifted me up and who offer the hope that I want to reciprocate and emulate on this journey.
First, I ride for my mom and the silent battle she had with skin cancer. She offers my siblings and me unconditional support with patience and empathy that I hope to gain even the smallest amount of through this experience to give back to her.
I also ride for her husband, my step-dad Richard, and the maturity and kindness that he has offered my family as he became a part of it over the last decade. He offers my mother support every day when I fail to do so, all the while supporting his own family and their experiences with cancer.
For my dad and Cynthia, who offer me constant support in every area of my life while simultaneously giving me the independence and agency to learn and grow on my own.
For my boss and the emotional support that she offers me every day in the office. Her empathy and vulnerability, relating to her experiences with cancer or not, have allowed me to learn a lot more than I expected I would in an office setting.
For some of my best friends (Shachi, Haleigh, Miciah, and Maretta to name just a few) who give me hope every day with their unconditional support and patience. I ride for them and the burdens that they have quietly taken on with loved ones and cancer.
The more people I tell about beginning this journey, the more closely tied to cancer I realize each person is than I thought. Importantly, I realize the silent burdens that each person takes on.
Through this experience, I want to spread hope so that I can better support the people who support me and connect with and better support others so that the burden is eased in some way. To Alaska!