By: S.A. Shah
Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide. In 2016, over 1.7 million new cases were diagnosed in the United States with 600,000 dying from the disease.[i] Everyone knows someone, perhaps a friend or family member, who has been impacted by cancer. Here in Buffalo, we are fortunate to have the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, one the oldest comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. For the past 21 years, the Ride for Roswell is the premiere and single largest fundraising event in Western New York. Think about the word “cure”. Cancer research has come a long way and we are seeing the results through increased survival rates. All funds go towards cancer research and patient care.[ii]
The Ride for Roswell is more than just a bike ride or day to volunteer. I have never seen such passion in people! It is day for volunteers and riders to come together to honor friends or family. There is a real feeling of community and spirit of support. Each person associated with the Ride for Roswell has a memory to share and reason to be there. Riding is the fun part, while fundraising is the challenge! In 2016 there were 7200 riders, 2200 volunteers, and total of $4.6 million raised.
Do you need to be a cyclist to participate? Absolutely not. The ride is meant for riders of all skill levels and age groups. There are routes for everyone, 3 to 10-mile family routes up to 102 mile routes for advanced riders. The fundraising minimum for riders is $200. Riders who raise a $1000 or more join a group called the “Extra Mile Club”. Volunteers assist with setup, packet pickup, manning tables, distributing water bottles, directing traffic, and assisting riders. For those who have other commitments or cannot ride, there is an option to be a “virtual rider”. There is no fundraising minimum for virtual riders.
Why do I ride? I ride to honor Mrs. Haider (my mother-in-law), Mr. Baksh, Mr. Rizvi, and others. I ride for community and those who have endured chemo treatments. Ride weekend begins on June 23rd, 2017, starting with the Celebration of Hope and Ride day on June 24th, 2017. The ride takes place rain or shine.
More info and registration at https://rideforroswell.org/