This post was written by our top youth fundraiser, Sammi Van Wicklin. Sammi is also featured on our Ride Poster this year.
I started to ride when I was 10 because my friend’s mom found out she had cancer and I was really sad about it, and wanted to do something. We had just moved to Ellicottville and my dad saw something about the Ride For Roswell to raise money for cancer research, and asked if I wanted to ride with him. I love my bike and said yes right away, but was worried that I wouldn’t be able to raise the $200 that I needed to be able to ride.
But after trying really hard that year, I was able to raise more than $4000 for cancer research! And more importantly, I learned how cancer was affecting so many of my friends and family, which I didn’t know before.
Every year I would increase my goal and beat it, and last year my goal was $25,000 and I was able to raise $29,805… ALMOST $30,000 (so you can guess what my goal is this year!). Over those years of riding with my dad, and now, thousands of emails and letters and phone calls later, having raised over $100,000 for the researchers at Roswell, I heard from so many of our donors and others who heard about my story of raising money and I would always keep track of who they gave in honor of, or in memory of, and I would ride for them too.
Also, there were always people who would give to Roswell through my Ride page one year and then I would hear from them the next year to find out that THEY had cancer and so I would ride for them, too. Some of them are still fighting it, some are in remission (yay!!!), and unfortunately some of them lost their battle to cancer so I am now riding in their memory. My Uncle Dale who always gave to my fundraising efforts, got cancer and died last year, and I’m so sad that he’s not around anymore. But being able to ride for him and his memory really helps me and my family remember how great he was and how much he supported cancer research.
So… Why Do I Ride? I ride for the hundreds of people who have donated and have given me the names of their friends, family, and even themselves to ride in their honor or in memory. I ride for them, and I will continue to ride and raise money for cancer research until we GET RID OF CANCER!!!