This is Arjun. He was born in Hyderabad, India and graduated from high school in Midland, Texas. He’s a senior at UT Austin, majoring in Plan II Honors, government and public health. He’s very involved in campus leadership and passionate about community service. “Every day is a good day when I've made at least one new friend,” he says.
One of Arjun’s friends was my good friend J J Baskin, who passed away a year ago yesterday from a very public fight with cancer. JJ was the ultimate people connector and a true representation of community service. Late last year, Arjun reached out to JJ’s wife, Joy, with this email:
Dear Ms. Baskin,
I'm a Plan II & Public Health senior at the University of Texas. I've been meaning to reach out to you for quite sometime now, but have had trouble coming to words on what I wanted to say.
To keep things short: JJ reached out to me freshman year (I won a Midland Texas Exes scholarship in his mother's name, and I think he saw my name). For three years, JJ connected me with resources, ideas, and things to do on campus, he advised me during some of my most difficult times, and overall shaped my experience on the 40 acres. Whether it be via text, email, or over coffee, JJ has been the foundation of my college career.
JJ was by far the most important mentor I've ever had, and I will be eternally grateful. Since JJ's passing, I've struggled to understand a lot of the things around me, and his passing was the primary reason I applied to be a rider for Texas 4000, a student led charity bike ride from Austin to Anchorage, Alaska to raise money for cancer research. I found out last week that I was accepted into Texas 4000 and hope to dedicate my time as part of this organization to JJ and share a little bit of JJ's Fight Club all the way to Alaska.
Arjun says he is riding for JJ, friends, family and communities at large that have been affected by cancer. He “rides to continue JJ’s legacy of touching other lives and inspiring them to make a difference in the world.”
Thank you, Arjun, and thank you JJ. You can learn more and support his ride here: http://www.texas4000.org/rider/2017/sierra/arjun-mocherla/