|Ver Andrew Starr|
First off, I want to say I made it to Texas. Growing up on a small island just north of Seattle, WA, I never thought I would end up in Texas. It shows goals are achievable. I’m a second year computer science major hoping to work in either web development or network securities. I was born in New York City but moved many times when I was less than a year old. I lived in the Philippines for the first year of my life with my grandparents. Then flew back to a small town called Oak Harbor, WA where my dad retired from the Navy. Oak Harbor was where I grew up surrounded by trees, sea breeze, and nice scenery with occasional low flying Naval airplanes. Since my father’s death eight years ago, it has been only my mom and I there. This was a big sacrifice for me but more for my mom. She moved to the Philippines to take care of her mom. I miss her AND her cooking.
I’m always in the state of nostalgia. Ever want to play a game of Super Smash Brothers? Or maybe Mario Kart? That’s my childhood. I’m still a little sour towards the Oklahoma City Thunder but the players, especially Kevin Durant have my full support. I also enjoy music from hip-hop to indie/alternative, even J. Biebs. I get satisfaction out of achievement. It can be changing my oil, figuring out a program in Java, or even making someone’s day better, that is an achievement.
I ride for my grandfather, Andres “Tatay” Madeja and the Madeja clan. After finishing my first semester at Texas, I went home to Oak Harbor where my mom, grandmother, and grandfather were. Being my first break from college, it was the best. I came back to my mom’s cooking AND my grandmother’s cooking. It was shortly after Christmas that we found out my grandpa was diagnosed with a tumor. This was not something someone expects. I spent as much time with my grandparents and my mom that break because I didn’t know when the next time would be.
Just recently, my grandpa was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer but shortly passed away. I know that he is now in a better place. It took me by surprise because I wasn’t there with him. The last time I saw him was spring break when he was going back to the Philippines because he didn’t want to have the surgery to get the tumor removed. I’m really happy he was home with his wife and kids where he wanted to be before his time came. Our family is very family-oriented and Tatay was always the fun and wise entertainer. He always gave to his family. I learned a lot from him and giving back to him in any way possible is what I want to do. This ride is dedicated to him for his wisdom, courage, and the fight he gave during his life, to his family and me.
I ride for the ones who could not fight back. The ones who currently are fighting but struggling. The stories of others are my motivation. There will be a day where no one will be threatened by cancer. Imagine no more worries but more time with love ones unhindered by a horrible cause.
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