My name is Elana, and I am also the child of Lebanese immigrants, so I truly relate to the feeling that all my accomplishments are only made possible by my parents’ sacrifices. Growing up, I always felt that I should be working towards something that would make their sacrifices worthwhile. So, once I was old enough to truly understand the extent that cancer and other diseases were affecting my family members, I decided that I wanted to work as a medical researcher to help bring relief to families all around the world that were experiencing some of these same effects.
My interest in research is largely fueled by experiences with people who I have known for most of my life, so I really found it inspiring that your story about why you ride focused on someone you only encountered for a few hours. I felt that it truly resonated with the fact that cancer is universal and affects so many people in so many ways, which can be easy to lose sight of when someone very close to you is fighting their own battle with the disease.
I admire your dedication to and courage in fighting cancer through your own physical toil, and I hope you enjoy the rest of your journey.
Elana Helou, Smith College