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Lending a Helping Hand – 5 Ride Volunteers Share Why They Do It

Every year, more than 2,000 volunteers show up on the last Saturday in June to help put on the Ride for Roswell. Our event simply would not be possible without their continued dedication and passion to our cause. In honor of our 25th anniversary and our 25 Tales series, we spoke to five volunteers about their experience and why they come back every year to be a part of the Ride for Roswell.

Elaine R.

Elaine has been volunteering for the Ride for Roswell for 13 years. She has always worked in the food tent serving breakfast and lunch to riders and other volunteers.

For Elaine, volunteering is an incredibly rewarding experience.

“I am not a medical professional.  I do not have the ability to find a cure for cancer. But what I can do is support this incredible event so that monies raised can be used for much needed cancer research.

“The Ride for Roswell gives me hope that a cure for cancer will be found.  We are so very fortunate to have Roswell Park in our community.  I will come out year after year to support the efforts of the outstanding doctors, medical staff and researchers at Roswell until a cure is found.”

Matt Y.

Matt’s Ride volunteer journey started at the Extra Mile Club station at registration. Then, he moved on to handing out t-shirts and this year, he’s helping to deliver lawn signs. He’s been volunteering for five years. He has also participated in all 25 rides and has been an EMC for 18 years.

He rides and volunteers because it’s a cause very close to his heart.

“When I started it was just because I thought it was a good cause. 

“Now, I have a list of people that have suffered from cancer, some have survived and some have not. I hope to help find a cure so that everyone in the future is a survivor. 

Each year I think of 1 or 2 of them. This year I am honoring Mike P., a rider and survivor. He is a very big supporter of Roswell and I find him inspirational when he tells his story.”

Sandy S.

Sandy and her Ken-Ton Girl Scouts volunteer at the t-shirts table on the Friday before the Ride and as campus guides on Ride Day. They’ve been doing this for four years. Sandy said they do it because of all the hope Roswell Park brings.

“Roswell Park is such an inspirational place that gives people hope when they think that all is lost. I am honored to be a small part of the Ride and I’m always amazed at how much joy my scouts get from participating. They truly enjoy volunteering & helping out wherever they are needed.

“I first began volunteering as a way to stand by my best friend as she rode in memory of her Father, who lost his battle with Lymphoma in 2001. I could definitely not ride as far as she does, but, think that volunteering is a great way to show my support for her, her amazing team and all who participate in the Ride. “

“I also volunteer in the memory of several family members and friends who have lost their battles with cancer, but will always live on” 

Colleen and Weegie

Colleen and Weegie are not only riders and members of the Extra Mile Club, but also route and sign volunteers. They have both been volunteering for about five years. For this pair, volunteering gives them the opportunity to give a little bit of themselves to an organization that does so much for so many people.

“It is an honor to participate every year and do our part to raise needed funds for cancer research and play a part in giving someone hope, brightening someone’s day, and letting someone know that we care.”

They both participate for various people in their families who have battled cancer.

“I ride every year in memory of my dad, who we lost in 2005 to colon cancer. He was treated at Roswell and I’ll never forget the kindness of each person we dealt with during his treatments and visits. No one treated him as a person who was dying of cancer, but as a human being. Smiles, kind words, hope and compassion… that sure left an impression. I also ride in memory of my uncle and in honor of family and friends who’ve fought their own battles,” Colleen said.

“I ride in honor of two of my sisters, both breast cancer survivors, and in memory of my mom, who unfortunately lost her battle with cancer two and a half years ago,” Weegie said. 

Diane K.

2019 was Diane’s first year as a Ride for Roswell volunteer. She worked volunteer check in all weekend. This year, she’s back and helping with lawn signs in the Tonawanda area. 

For Diane, volunteering at the Ride means everything.

“I get emotional when I speak about why I volunteer – volunteering fills my heart. 

The commitment of those involved with the Ride for Roswell made an impression on me from the start. I knew I had found another organization that I would stay committed to for, I hope, a long time.

“Last year I did it for many family members and friends. This year I volunteer in honor of my beautiful cousin Leah who was diagnosed in February.”

Diane plans to keep volunteering at this event to continue the mission of the Ride.

“For me, there is a need to support, raise awareness and raise funds for many organizations. Volunteers are a necessary part of that.”

Let’s Ride Together In August

August will be here before we know it – and that means it’s time to ride! We can’t wait to gather for our in-person rides during the Summer of the Ride.

When you choose to ride with us, you’ll get a little bit of that much-loved Ride Day experience at three different locations throughout Western New York with various start times and distances. These rides will be taking place at the following locations.

As a reminder, every 20 minutes groups of 10 or less riders will be set out to participate in the Summer of the Ride.

So what can you expect to experience? When you arrive to your location of choice, you’ll be greeted by our incredible parking volunteers and hear jams playing to get you energized for the day. Our volunteers will welcome you and direct you to your spot. Then, you will follow the signs to a check-in tent, which will be located in the same parking lot. Our team will remind you of proper social distancing techniques and once checked in, you’ll be able to fill out your tribute card, write the name of a survivor you know on the sidewalk, and grab a snack bag courtesy of Tops.

When your group’s start time is announced, you’ll pass through the Summer of the Ride start line arch to kick off your adventure. Throughout your ride, you’ll see cheerleaders ringing the famous Ride cowbells and riding marshals keeping you on track and safe. You’ll also be able to take a break at a water stop where first aid and basic bike repair supplies will be available. And be sure to keep smiling because you might spot some Ride photographers along the way, capturing the excitement of the Summer of the Ride! As you near the end of your route, you will pass a finish line, chalked with the names of those we ride for: loved ones we’ve lost, current patients and survivors.

When you’re all done, make sure to hop on over to our selfie photo station and get a picture with your teammates. Don’t forget to post it on social using #RFR20 and tag us (@rideforroswell).

Ready to sign up?!

In order to secure your timeslot, you must be registered for the Ride first. The great news is that there are no registration fees or fundraising minimums – all you have to do is register here.

After that, you’ll be logged into your participants dashboard. There will be a green button at the top. Click on it to reserve your spot. 

This is where you can select the date and time you and your team would like to ride at. You can search by date, location or both. Please note – you can register up to 9 people including yourself. You will need to know the name, email and phone number of everyone you are registering. Additionally, you will only be able to register once so make sure you pick the correct date.

When you are ready to secure your spot, click Register under the correct date and time.

You will then be taken to the registration page where your information will automatically populate. When you are done, click Next Step.

After clicking on Next Step, you will come to a review page. Here you can either complete your registration or register another rider and repeat the above steps. You will need some of their information: their name, the email address they used when registering for the Ride and phone number. 

Once you are done, click Complete Registration and you will be redirected to your participant dashboard, which will be updated with your in-person ride details.

We can’t wait to ride together in August! If you don’t feel comfortable attending one of these rides, you can still participate in the Summer of the Ride by riding your own way. You are in charge of your adventure – choose the time, location and distance that works best for you. We even have a special guide to help with creating your own route.

No matter what way you choose to participate, we can’t wait to make this summer impactful for cancer patients. 

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