BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Ride for Roswell got started Friday evening with opening ceremonies, and a special race exclusively for participants who have raised $1,000 or more for the cause, known as the Peloton.
“[It's] a celebration of cancer survivorship,” said Roswell Park Cancer Institute President and CEO, Dr. Donald Trump. “Many of the physicians and patients at Roswell Park will be there drawing attention to the Ride and what it’s about, and that is to improve the care of cancer patients.”
John Chudy lost his wife to breast cancer in 2006. He has ridden every year since then, inspired by both her legacy and the compassionate care he says she received from the staff at Roswell Park.
“From the beginning, from when she was first diagnosed, with the treatment, and the family, it’s just a great group of people. And I think they’re doing a wonderful job,” said Chudy. “It’s the camaraderie, it’s the giving back to a great cause. And it’s just a wonderful event. I look forward to it every year.”
Friday’s Peloton took around 200 cyclists 20 miles, from the hospital in Buffalo’s medical corridor to UB North Campus in Amherst.
Olympic gold medal-winning figure skater Scott Hamilton shared his story of survival, first with testicular cancer and then with two bouts of brain cancer.
“I’ve met many cancer survivors, and tell me if I’m wrong,” Hamilton asked the crowd. “That fear is exchanged almost immediately by a sense of power, strength, determination and purpose. You are going to win this battle!”
Hamilton praised Buffalonians as “champions,” for their dedication to fighting cancer by participating in the Ride year after year. On Saturday, over 8,000 cyclists will ride in the main event. The 2014 Ride for Roswell is on track to raise $4 million.
“It’s just an extraordinary thing, isn’t it? When we just lock our arms together and say, ‘We’re done with this. We’re going to make a difference. And we are going to cure cancer in our lifetimes!'” Hamilton said.
That drew a thunderous round of applause.
Not only is the Ride for Roswell Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s biggest annual fundraiser, it’s the single largest fundraising event in Western New York and the largest single-day cycling event in North America.
Every dollar goes to help pay for patient care at Roswell, and research that promises to find better treatments.