Once in a while an opportunity comes your way that changes your life in the best
ways imaginable. I was fortunate enough to have such an opportunity in my Sophomore year, when I joined the UT Austin Chapter of Camp Kesem. Camp Kesem is a nationwide non profit run by college students dedicated to providing a free summer camp and support system for children whose parents are affected by cancer. We support campers whose parents are in every stage of the cancer treatment process, from parents who have just been diagnosed to parents who have made a full recovery, but there are also those whose families who have lost a parent or sometimes even parents to cancer. Something as destructive and deeply disheartening as cancer is cumbersome enough on its own, but for someone as young as a child to have to see a parent undergo it, a suffering that is entirely out of their control, is something that no child should have to endure. Before Camp Kesem, many of the children feel alone or withdrawn from others their age, having few peers whose families have also gone through a similarly burdensome experience. When they get to camp, however, and realize that everyone around them are people they can confide in and share in their emotions, the support they give to one another never stops coming and is an inspiration to everyone involved. If Camp Kesem means anything to these kids, it's a constant reminder that there will always be people going through what you go through, people you can turn to if need be, a lesson that is important to realize throughout one’s entire life but that too often escapes us.
Being able to serve such an underrepresented demographic in the cancer community was among the most rewarding experiences I’ve had, and I’m a firm believer that whenever it is within one’s means to do good, one should do good. That’s why I’m riding for Texas 4000, for the families of Camp Kesem, who are living proof that even in the face of cancer’s destructive force there will always be someone to confide in and help us through our times of hardship. I also ride for both of my Grandmothers, who I never got to know very well but for whom my parents never had an opportunity to ride for. Lastly, I ride for the people I have yet to meet on the 2020 team’s journey from Texas to Alaska.