Take it from Derek: why you should ride from an experienced rider

Derek Fettes is an 11-year proud supporter of the Ride for Roswell. As a Roswell Park patient, team captain and Extra Mile Club member, Derek knows that the Ride was made for everyone.

On his first ride, he remembers being invited by a friend. Their connection to the Ride stemmed from both losing loved ones to cancer.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but I didn’t really know anyone who was actively doing it. But it was an easy yes for me, and I am glad I am doing it. I love it. I wouldn’t miss it now.”

Last year, the Ride became even more personal and meaningful to Derek as he became a patient at Roswell Park.



You never know when you are going to have to go there and use the facilities. From going there and seeing first-hand the work that happens, you learn a lot. You get to meet the staff, the doctors, the nurses, the support staff; everyone who is there that I have met have been great people. The Ride means even more to me now.

— Derek Fettes

This year, Derek is excited about the five different Ride locations being offered.

“I like that there are so many different rides now, and different ways you can ride,” he said.  

“People are always worried about the length of a ride, but there is a ride for everybody. I think sometimes, people get intimidated by the length of the Ride or they think it is a bike race, but it’s not. Just hop on your bike, go a couple miles and raise funds for cancer research.”

Derek is also part of a team, The Midnight Riders, and they go all out. One of his favorite Ride memories is when they went to UB and dressed up as the band Kiss and rode to “kiss cancer goodbye.” You may even see them this year representing the “force”- hint, hint! 

As for his experienced rider pro tips, he recommends:

at the ride...

Derek invites everyone to participate in the Ride for Roswell because it’s a day of fun and impact.

Taking on the Ride for the first time – Annie’s story

Meet Annie.

She’s a mother of three young children, a cancer patient and a first-time Ride for Roswell participant.

Being diagnosed with breast cancer in the beginning of 2020 was one of the most difficult things her family has ever been through.

“It has literally been one of the worst years of my family’s life. I was 40 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I have 3 little kids… ages 4,6 and 8. I was diagnosed a month after the world shut down. Talk about going from a pandemic into cancer! Which, as crazy as it sounds, was an absolutely perfect time to be diagnosed. I was able to get into appointments quickly. I was diagnosed and within a week I had an appointment at Roswell.”

After her diagnosis, Annie’s whole family rallied together to support her through her treatment at Roswell Park. They decided that participating in the 2021 Ride for Roswell was a fun and easy opportunity for everyone to get together and make a difference.

“We really knew that this was something my family and friends wanted to do to support Roswell. Roswell literally saved my life.”

Why she's riding in 2021

The Ride will mean more to Annie this year than ever before. 

“I’m actually not even done with treatment yet. I am still going through some treatment. It is kind of perfect timing. I have 8 cycles of an oral chemo drug, and my 8th cycle finishes the week before the Ride for Roswell! It’s going to be a big celebration… I get emotional just thinking about it.”

Annie will ride through the finish line for herself and all those affected by cancer. 

 “The thought goes into your head as a parent, ‘oh my gosh … what is the likelihood that this would happen to my kids?’ To know that there is a cure out there … would make that journey a little bit easier. 

“The reason I ride is because I want the accessibility of Roswell Park to be there for everybody. To know that there is a cure for this. Even if you get a stage four diagnosis, hopefully, one day, there will be a cure where that won’t be a terminal diagnosis.” 

And while cancer is now a part of who Annie is, she is determined to do her part to help make a better future for others.

“Cancer is forever a part of my life, and forever a part of my family’s life. If we can raise funds to help cancer research, so that if I have a reoccurrence, or if someone else from my family is impacted; knowing that the money is going to cancer research so that one day there can be a cure – I couldn’t pick a better place to raise money for.”

Annie’s treatment transformed her. While in the midst of one of the hardest years of her life, she was given some light.  

“It is a place I never ever wanted to step foot in, but it is also a place that as soon as I did step foot into that hospital, I was instantly filled with hope. It is the most incredible place to go – when you have to go somewhere.”  

Why you should ride with her

Even though Annie is a first-time rider, she is finding that preparing for the Ride is much easier than she expected.  

“Fundraising was SO easy! As soon as I signed up, I clicked the link to Facebook and the donations were rolling in before I knew it was even set up.” 

Annie is almost at her $5,000 goal and the Ride is still a little bit away. 

“The support that we had throughout this last year, was just incredible. Facebook has made it so incredibly easy.” 

If you’re planning on coming out to an in-person ride, Annie’s advice is to not be intimidated by distance because it’s not a race. Plus, if you don’t feel comfortable with any of the distances or locations, you can always ride your own way. 

”You can even do it on your own. You don’t even have to do it at one of the locations. Distance shouldn’t deter anybody because it has been made so easy for anyone to do it.” 

Join the experience

The Ride for Roswell is a family-friendly event for all to enjoy. With no fundraising minimum or registration fee, this year is the perfect time to try it out. 

Annie, her family, and friends plan to make a day out of it. 

“We’re all riding at the Outer Harbor. Then we are having a party at our house afterward to celebrate the ride, to celebrate me being done with treatment.

“I am excited for August 7. To say treatment is done, and to say we raised a bunch of money for Roswell. I can’t think of a better way to spend a day.” 

Get Ready for Ride Spirit Week 2021

Besides Ride Weekend, Spirit Week is one of our favorite times of the year! This year’s Spirit Week is taking place from Monday, May 17 through Sunday, May 23. Gear up for a full week of fun activities and contests that you won’t want to miss! Here’s the line-up:

MONDAY, May 17

Team Recruitment Challenge

West Herr Hot Air Balloon and RFR team

Teams that recruit 10 or more members by Friday, May 21 at 5 p.m. will be entered to win a custom team T-shirt for all members.

Tuesday, May 18

24-Hour Fundraising Match Challenge

Get ready to raise! The first 250 riders to raise $100 will receive a $100 matching gift thanks to the generous support of Linde. Tell your friends and family that this is the day to donate. The match will only last from 12 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday May 18.

Wednesday, May 19

Kickoff at Buffalo Riverworks

Join us at the Ride for Roswell Kickoff at Buffalo RiverWorks! Sessions will begin at 4:30 p.m. and will run in 45-minute intervals until 7:30 p.m. To stay within COVID-19 guidelines, you must be pre-registered for a specific start time.

Thursday, May 20

Lawn Sign Delivery

Riding to End Cancer lawn sign with sunset in background

The team is ready to start delivering your lawn signs! If you got your fundraising started early and hit that $100 mark by Friday, May 14 your lawn sign will be delivered starting today as part of this year’s rider rewards ! But that’s not all… one lucky rider will have an “Instant Extra Mile Club Member” voucher attached to their sign, courtesy of West Herr.

Friday, May 21 - Sunday, May 23

Gear up and go out

Break out your favorite Ride gear from over the years and spread Ride spirit all around Western New York! When you wear your swag to any of the following businesses throughout the weekend, you will receive 10% off your bill. (Check back periodically for an updated list):

Big Ditch Brewing Company

Hofbrauhaus Buffalo

Hartman’s Distilling Co.

Deep South Taco (both locations)

Buffalo RiverWorks

Pearl Street Grill and Brewery

SPoT Coffee 

We can’t wait to celebrate Spirit Week 2021 with our incredible Ride community!


Join a mission that is larger than any one person – one that impacts us all

Fundraising for the Ride for Roswell changes lives. Our goal every year is to get closer to the day where no one’s life will be shortened by a cancer diagnosis. Funds raised help real people and make a real difference.

Looking for some fundraising tips? Here are a few that will make you excited to fundraise, proud of your fundraising goal and give you the tools you need to help increase your support. 

Did you know?

There are no fundraising minimums or registration fees this year

This year, the goal is that everyone who wants to participate has the opportunity to ride. Invite all of your friends and family to participate . Come out to one of our five locations or create your own route. We need you!

Fundraising can be fun

The word fundraising can be intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be! Simple tasks like updating your photo on your fundraising dashboard, sharing why you ride on social media and connecting your fundraiser to Facebook all make a HUGE difference. Riders that fundraise with Facebook raise $300 more than those who do not! 

Teams accounted for 88% of all fundraising last year

If you have never been to a Ride for Roswell before, this is the perfect time to start. It only takes two people to form a team, so you and your friends can try it out risk free. Ride with us, or anywhere you’d like, and raise funds to help find a cancer cure. Even better – team members don’t all need to ride together on Ride day!

All you have to do is ask

It’s that easy! Reach out to your friends, ask your family members, tell your coworkers all about riding in the Ride for Roswell. If you get 10 people to donate $10, you will have raised $100. 

We appreciate all that you do for the Ride. To thank you, our team has chosen some pretty awesome rewards that we hope will motivate you to go the extra mile for the patients at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. 

  • $100 – Yard sign
  • $200 – T-shirt
  • $500 – Sling bag
  • $1,000 – Welcome to the Extra Mile Club (EMC)! You’ve earned an EMC jersey, baseball cap, and special yard sign topper
  • $2,500 – Duffle bag and invitation to ride in the Peloton
  • $5,000 – Engraved brick in Roswell Park’s Kaminski Park

These rewards and more can be yours, if you and your team gather together and rally for a cancer cure. See below for all the tools you’ll need to get started, connect to our mobile app, fundraise on Facebook and more.