Steven attended the University of Washington. In the summer of 2012 he is riding with a group of college students on a 70 day, 4000+ mile bike ride from Baltimore to Seattle.
What is your connection with the cancer community?
Cancer has been prevalent in my family history, and while it has affected multiple members of my extended family, it played a role most notably in my grandfather’s life history. Although I never had the chance to know my grandfather personally, I have heard stories of his life, which have greatly impacted the way I live. My paternal grandfather was part of the first generation of Seto’s to come to America from China. Like many immigrants, my grandfather faced plenty of challenges when he arrived, such as language barriers and racism; yet he was able to overcome these challenges and establish himself in Louisiana, becoming a prominent faculty member at Tulane University. Not only was he a dedicated faculty member, he excelled at his field and ultimately founded the Electroscience and Biophysics Research Laboratories at Tulane. Unfortunately, shortly after this, my grandfather passed away at the age of fifty-one due to lung cancer. The most painful part about my grandfather’s lung cancer was the fact that it was self-induced and exacerbated by his poor smoking habits. The lack of attention drawn to the negatives of smoking led to a severe decrease in health in my grandfather which could have been prevented had there been adequate education about the risks associated with smoking. Not only was my grandfather’s health impacted, my father’s health was also impacted, as he developed asthma at an early age due to secondhand smoke. Both of these men are men whose examples I have attempted to emulate in my own life and development. These men overcame many difficulties and excelled at what they did through their unwavering work ethic. Their legacies challenge me to work hard to overcome the obstacles in my life and inspire me to strive to reach my goals.
Why are you riding the 4K for Cancer?
Growing up in Seattle, cancer awareness has always been present in my life, in part due to the large cancer research community based in the city. With organizations such as the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, as well as the research coming from the University of Washington, basic knowledge of the symptoms and conditions of cancer is almost universal among the city’s citizens. While I was attending the University of Washington, I was able to see the progress that was being made in this field of research, but my personal lack of involvement in the field left me wanting more. Having cancer affect my family in ways that could have been prevented led me to realize that not everyone is as fortunate to be able to grow up and live in a city where cancer is such an important topic and where so many resources are devoted to cancer research. Given my background as a scientist and as someone whose family has been affected by cancer, I searched for ways I could be part of a movement to spread awareness and knowledge of this devastating disease. It was at this time that I learned about 4K for Cancer. Being an avid biker, I was excited to hear about the transnational ride to bring cancer awareness to cities across the nation from my friend Nancy, who is currently participating in the 2011 ride. Not only would I be able to embark on an exciting biking adventure, but the fact that there is also the greater purpose of bringing further awareness of cancer across the nation completely sold me. I was enticed by the physical, mental, and emotional challenge of the ride. I asked myself: “Would this be an opportunity that I would regret missing? Would I regret the chance to help spread cancer awareness, to meet amazing people and possibly change someone’s life, while being able to tie in my other passion for biking?” The answer to these questions was, “Yes, absolutely.” I knew immediately that 4K for Cancer is an unparalleled opportunity and an once-in-a-lifetime experience in which I would love to take part.