Student Spotlight: Young girl raises thousands for Roswell

ELLICOTTVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB)- Samantha Van Wicklin is in 6th grade at Ellicottville Central School.  She and her father have been raising money for the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in the annual Ride for Roswell over the past two years.  Together, they have raised more than $34,000 in 2012 and 2013. Samantha’s portion of that, which she raised on her own, was nearly $10,000.  She has also been in the top 25 ride fundraisers, out of 8,000, for those two years.

This year, Samantha’s father won’t be able to join her for the ride, because Lieutenant Bob Van Wicklin is serving the U.S. Navy in Afghanistan for most of the year.  Van Wicklin is an intelligence officer with the Navy Reserves, but his full-time, civilian job is at the University of Buffalo.

“My daughter decided to ride anyway and keep raising money,” says Van Wicklin.  Her goal is to bring their three-year total to $50,000, which means raising nearly $16,000 on her own this year.  Van Wicklin says it looks like she will make, or even exceed, that goal.

“As a proud father, it’s exciting to watch her from over here in Mazar-e Sharif.  She’s a great kid, has a big heart for doing things for others, and really wants to make a difference in the world,” says Van Wicklin. He says Samantha is very active in her school, plays softball, plays the drums and flute in the band, is on the school’s Odyssey of the Mind team, is very involved in the local Girl Scout troop and is always volunteering.

You can read more about Samantha’s fundraising efforts, and find out how to donate, at her Ride for Roswell webpage. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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