Valerie Kaufman and her sister Stephanie have been riding in The Ride For Roswell for five years. Val first joined The Ride in 2013 because of her mother Natalie’s ovarian cancer diagnosis. The 45-mile route went right by her mother’s house, so it was a “perfect spot to ride by her with our family and friends around,” Val said. Unfortunately, Natalie lost her battle with ovarian cancer. Her daughters continue to ride in The Ride For Roswell in her memory. Over the last few years, Val and Steph have joined forces as co-captains, leading teams of 5 or 6 people.
In 2016, their youngest sister graduated from high school on the morning of The Ride so they were unable to physically participate. However, that did not stop them. They decided to register as virtual riders. With a little creative thinking and a lot of teamwork, Val and Steph made their year as virtual riders extra special. They created a route that included a number of locations that their mom loved.
- D’Youville College – where their mom went to college.
- 31 Club – a favorite restaurant and happy hour spot. Natalie loved to try new places.
- Shea’s Performing Arts Center – where she loved to attend shows and was a season ticket holder.
- Buffalo General – where Natalie flourished in her nursing career. She ended her career as the manager of patient flow after more than 20 years working with cardiac patients.
- Roswell – couldn’t skip this!
- Spot Coffee on Hertel – coffee décor encompassed the Kaufman family kitchen growing up. A cup of coffee with a friend was one of their mom’s favorite things to do.
- 432 Rosedale – the house Val and Steph grew up in.
- Boulevard Mall – to embrace Natalie’s love of shopping.
The girls stopped to take a photo at every location along the route and posted them on social media with the hashtag #milesformom. They even got a little taste of The Ride.
“The best part was when we got back to my house after our ride, my sister’s friend had left us some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and orange slices like The Ride rest stops,” Val said. “It was a really nice touch.”
By becoming virtual riders, Val and Steph were still able to join in the fight against cancer but could participate in their own time.
Becoming a virtual rider allows you to participate in The Ride For Roswell if you can’t be there on June 23. You could put together a special route like Val and Steph, or simply fundraise for cures. Every donation matters in the fight against cancer.