Featured Team: Team Skoden

For Whitney Ann Henry, forming a Ride for Roswell team marked the realization of a goal she set nearly two years ago. Along with her coworker and team co-captain, Josie Raphaelito, Team Skoden came to fruition. Skoden is a slang term used in the Indigenous community to mean “Let’s go then!” or “Let’s get after it.” The name aligns perfectly with their goal to support their department: the Center for Indigenous Cancer Research (CICR) at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Whitney Ann, the Indigenous patient navigation coordinator, and Josie, a research project coordinator, are both passionate about furthering the CICR’s mission of reducing cancer’s impact on Indigenous communities. They are also committed to bringing awareness within the Indigenous community of the resources available through the CICR.

CICR - Center for Indigenous Cancer Research Team

CICR Resources

A few examples include:

  • Colorectal cancer screening education classes
  • The Indigenous and Rural Patient Navigation Program: a free, non-clinical service for cancer care
  • Student internships
  • The Native CIRCLE Library, a virtual hub for culturally appropriate health education materials for Indigenous communities, scholars, researchers and educators
  • The Talking Circle, a podcast that focuses on Indigenous health and wellness
  • The Talking Circle webinar series featuring health and wellness experts and topics that are most important to Indigenous communities. Check for upcoming webinars or catch up on previous topics, including April’s talk featuring David R. Wilson, PhD, Director of Tribal Health Research Office, who discussed his work with building a unified presence between the National Institutes of Health and tribal leaders across the nation.

    Watch the webinars.

About Team Skoden

Whitney Ann and Josie have opted to have the funds they raise for the Ride for Roswell directly benefit the CICR to continue these efforts and advance the critical research and community services that will reduce the cancer burden within Indigenous communities. Cancer is one of the top leading causes of death for Native Americans in Western New York, so the work done through the CICR is critical.

Team Skoden has grown to include 14 riders with a goal to collectively raise $10,000 through the Ride for Roswell. Together, the team looks forward to joining thousands of other riders committed to making a positive impact.

“I’m riding for my whole reservation,” Whitney Ann says. “We always have Indigenous communities in mind, and we do it for them.”

Join Team Skoden or create your own team for the Ride! No team is too big or too small to make a meaningful difference.

 

 

Featured Rider: Breanna Voigt

Why do you participate in the Ride for Roswell?

This year I am participating for my sister, mom and myself. This past year I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and had my surgery and treatment through RPCI. My sister was diagnosed with bladder cancer as well this year. I want to raise funds to help researchers not only find better treatments but ultimately better screening tests so cancer can be detected at its earliest stage possible.
Breanne Voigt with family

What is your favorite part about Ride weekend?

My favorite part about ride weekend is the starting and finish line. I get chills riding through all of the cheering people and overwhelmed with emotion thinking about who I’m riding for that day.

What have you been doing to raise funds for the Ride?

To raise funds I’ve been sharing my story on Facebook and Instagram along with asking for donations.

Volunteer Feature: Meet Ginny

Meet Ginny, route guide and cancer warrior.

“I’m a cancer survivor by seven years. The colon cancer has been eradicated and the AML (acute myeloid leukemia) is under control. I attribute that to the good care I’ve gotten from Roswell Park,” Ginny Beyer says.

Inspired by her cancer journey and that of her cousin who fought childhood leukemia, Ginny decided to take a stand in the fight to end cancer. Alongside her husband, Roger, she signed up as a route guide for the Ride for Roswell — just to see what it was all about. Four years later, Ginny and Roger couldn’t imagine missing the event.

“I’ve got one of my Ride for Roswell T-shirts that says ‘survivor.’ Of course, it’s vibrant orange. I wear it everywhere, and people go, ‘Wow, congratulations!’ and I tell them about the event. So, Ride is a whole year-long thing now.”

Ginny and Roger set up post at the first turn on the Ride course, right after the cyclists exit the University at Buffalo. It gives the duo the chance to see people at the start of their journey, at a moment when their excitement is fresh and tangible. They see riders, young and old, of all different backgrounds and abilities. Ginny vividly remembers one rider who was tackling the 30-mile route while hooked up to oxygen.

“I thought, ‘Wow, you’ve courage, lady,’” Ginny says. “There’s story after story like that, of people showing their strength to fight cancer.”

Being a route guide gives Ginny the ability to motivate people and cheer them on while making sure the event runs smoothly. That role, in turns, brings her joy and allows her to have fun. You’ll often see Ginny and Roger decked out in full costume with red noses and cowbells, ready to delight riders as they take the first turn. Sometimes the riders are decked out in costume, too — in tutus or superhero costumes — which takes the whole experience to the next level.

Beyond the fun, Ginny and Roger play a vital role in directing riders and making sure they take the right turn for the right route. Without their help, people would get lost more easily, and the Ride wouldn’t be the success it is today. Plus, Ginny says, volunteering for the Ride connects you directly to a cause that spreads hope for cancer patients like her. She encourages everyone to do it.   

“Do it because it is a lot of fun, and they need the help,” she says. “Whatever your limitations are, there’s a spot for you.”

Join Ginny and register as a Ride volunteer today.

Featured Team: Flak Pack Family & Friends

Why does your team ride in the Ride for Roswell?

I have worked at Roswell for almost 16 years and have an absolute compassion for what I do. My family and I are no strangers to the word cancer as we have lost family to this unforgivable disease. In 2020 it hit close to home as my daughter and I were diagnosed with cancer 2 months apart from one another. Last year was my first time participating as a rider as I rode to support our family, friends and all Roswell patients, while my family supported me on my journey. This year we decided to do this as a family and support all those affected by this terrible disease.
Flak Pak team photo
Flak Pack team selfie

What is your favorite part about Ride Weekend?

That feeling of love and compassion from every soul there, as we pull together as one family with one goal….support in helping find the cure.

What does leading a team mean to you?

It is an honor and a privilege to be part of the journey and this would not be possible without the love and support of our whole team.

Team Tents

We are so excited to be able to gather once again at UB after a long day of riding. There really is nothing better than celebrating crossing that finish line with family and friends in your own team tent!

These are the tent options this year for our team captains at UB:

1. Rent a team tent:

  • 10×10 tent with 1 table and 6 chairs – cost $300
  • 15×15 tent with 2 tables and 10 chairs – cost $340
  • 20×20 tent with 2 tables and 10 chairs – cost $400

2. Bring your own tent (no larger than 15×15) – no cost

Team Tent Rentals

  •  Rented team tents can be accessed for set up and decorating on Friday, June 24 from 1:30-6 p.m., or Saturday, June 25 from 5-9 a.m. 
  • Volunteers will be available during these times to assist you with transporting your items to your tent location. 

Bring Your Own Tents

  • All bring your own tents must be set-up on Friday, June 24 from 1:30-6 p.m., or Saturday, June 25 from 5-9 a.m. 
  • Volunteers will be on hand to assist with delivering your materials to your tent during these days and times only. 
  • Due to Ride for Roswell activities on Friday and Saturday, drop off and pickup of your tent and supplies may be limited. Specific instructions, along with a map of your tent location, will be sent to the email address provided after June 1. All teams will be responsible for set-up, take down, and all supplies within their tent. 
  • Limit of one (1) tent per team. Maximum size: 20’x20’ 
  • THIRD PARTY TENTS NOT ALLOWED. Unfortunately, due to the limited space, third party tent rentals are not allowed. Please contact the Ride for Roswell if you would like to rent a tent. 
  • Stakes are not allowed to be used for tent set up. 
  • All tents MUST comply with NYS Fire Code 24.04 and will have a tag affixed certifying treatment for flame resistance. Non-compliant tents will be removed at the discretion of the UB office of Environment Health and Safety. 

Volunteer Feature: Meet the Militos

Here’s what Lettia and Vinny have to say about volunteering for the load-in/ load-out crew

The sunrise on the morning of Ride Day

For the past 11 years, Lettia Milito has shown up before dawn on the morning of the Ride for Roswell with coffee in hand. She begins final set-up for the event before the sun comes up, while most of Buffalo is still asleep.

“It’s dark, cold and nobody’s there, but I love it at that time. The sunrise is absolutely gorgeous, and there’s just so much promise,” she says.

Lettia oversees a team that loads supplies in and out for Ride Day and the Celebration of Hope. Her duties typically begin the week leading up to the event and end long after the last rider has crossed the finish line. She started volunteering more than a decade ago to fulfill a requirement for her project management certification, but she comes back every year for the people, the atmosphere and the positive energy — not to mention the great cause.

A Family Effort

Lettia’s husband, Vinny, began volunteering with the Ride about six years ago, around the time he retired from his job as the director of global customer services at Oracle. In addition to managing the loading and unloading of supplies, he also oversees the distribution of supplies to each rest stop, matching the number of riders expected to pass through to available supplies. Supply quantities change often, so distribution remains fluid until the trucks are fully loaded the day before the Ride.

“There are challenging moments, but in spite of it all, we make sure everybody has the supplies they need,” Vinny says. “When the last of those trucks leaves, there’s a lot of satisfaction in knowing that the rest stops will be ready to go come Saturday morning when riders start coming in.”

Lettia shares similar sentiments and says she enjoys both managing logistics and setting her crew members up for success. When asked on Zoom why people might want to volunteer, she gave a slight smirk and said, “Well, everybody knows my team has the most fun.”

Lettia was half joking, but most of the volunteers she works with are repeats like her and Vinny who keep coming back year after year. She remembers one particular volunteer, a high school student whose mother made him get involved. His disgruntled attitude soon dissipated into laughter, and by the end of his shift, he was truly enjoying himself. That volunteer came back again the next year — that time, of his own accord. 

On Volunteering

Load-in and load-out roles tend to be extremely active and are perfect for those looking to get their steps in. According to Lettia and Vinny, though, there’s a perfect job for just about everyone.

“There are so many different things that you can do,” Lettia says. “There’s going to be something you’ll enjoy doing.”

“A lot of people feel like they should volunteer for something but don’t know how to get started,” Vinny says. “The Ride is so large now that there’s going to be something you can pick that will give you satisfaction in knowing you did something for a good cause.”

To view all opportunities and register to volunteer, visit our page below.

The Draudt brothers fight back

The Draudt brothers fight back

For brothers Adam and Dan Draudt, participating in the Ride for Roswell comes down to one word: hope. They’ve seen the impact Roswell Park has in the lives of cancer patients and know firsthand how cancer can turn lives upside down. To the Draudt brothers, Roswell Park helps cancer patients fight back, giving them hope for a better tomorrow.

In 2021, Adam was told he had multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells that causes bones to weaken. Luckily, doctors caught Adam’s cancer early, and he was able to fight back through stem cell treatments and chemotherapy. As of February, he is fully in remission. The diagnosis, however, flipped Adam and his family’s world around.

“It could happen to any of us,” Dan says. “I never would’ve thought it would happen to my brother, but here we are.”

While Adam was undergoing treatment, Dan sought out a way to take action for cancer patients like his brother. He signed up for the Ride for Roswell, wanting to make an impact for future generations. With Adam’s help, they raised more than $34,000 for cancer research! This year, they’re celebrating Adam’s remission by fundraising again.

“The funding that they get from Ride helps people like me go from a [cancer] diagnosis in June to full remission in February,” Adam says. “As a survivor, I see how the funding helps people behind the scenes at Roswell Park make advances they wouldn’t be able to otherwise.”

Everyone’s cancer journey differs, but for the Draudt brothers, hope keeps them working toward a world where we end cancer for good. Adam also has a little advice for anyone who might be hesitant to sign up for this year’s Ride:

“Go for it. You’ve got nothing to lose. Even if you don’t finish, you still raised money that’s going to help so many people in the future,” he says.

Check out Adam and Dan’s team, MADaboutcancer, and register for the Ride for Roswell today.

Volunteers needed! Give back to a great cause.

Volunteers are at the heart of the Ride for Roswell and help us make the event a success. We’re looking for more volunteers to join the cause! Whether you have a family member who’s riding or want to lend a hand, these opportunities are a great way to get involved in the fight to end cancer. 

Campus set-up

What? Volunteers are needed to distribute food and beverage supplies and/or help with clean up. This position involves heavy lifting.

Why? Ride Weekend involves countless supplies and moving parts. These volunteers make sure all supplies get to the right place on campus to ensure the event goes off without a hitch.

When? Volunteers are needed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Shifts are generally 3–4 hours, and you can self-schedule based on your availability.

Where? This opportunity is based at UB North Campus.

CELEBRATION OF HOPE

What? Volunteers are needed to work at the Survivorship Tent, help set up and clean up, or serve food to event participants.

Why? The Celebration of Hope kicks off Ride Weekend, and volunteers keep the event organized, safe and successful.

When? This position is for Friday night. Shifts are generally 4–5 hours, and you can self-schedule based on your availability.

Where? This opportunity is based at UB North Campus.

Route Guides

What? Volunteers will direct riders at turns and intersections, watch out for rider safety and cheer on participants.

Why? You’ll be at the center of The Ride action. This opportunity is great for volunteering with a friend or neighbor.

When? Volunteers report on Saturday. Shifts are generally 3–4 hours, from early morning until early afternoon. You may sign up for more than one shift, if interested.

Where? Volunteers are needed throughout The Ride for Roswell routes!

Campus and Parking Guides

What? Volunteers are needed to help direct the flow of traffic to parking spots and assist riders around campus.

Why? There are 10,000 people on campus at any given time throughout Ride Weekend. Campus and parking guides are responsible for greeting and directing riders and guests, as well as making sure both pedestrian and vehicular traffic runs smoothly.

When? This opportunity is for Friday and Saturday. Shifts are generally 3–4 hours, and you can self-schedule based on your availability.

Where? Volunteers will report to various UB North Campus locations.

Featured Rider: Sydney Dobmeier

Why do you participate in the Ride for Roswell?

I started riding when I was only 4 years old because I saw my parents ride, it looked like fun, and I really wanted to do the same thing. I asked them to let me do it, and even though I was still on training wheels, they did! The are many reasons I ride now and why the Ride is important to me. It gives me the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself and to contribute to something really great. I now know how the Ride benefits all of the patients at Roswell, and this is the motivation that pushes me to raise more and more each year. I want to reach out to the patients at Roswell and let them know that everyone at the Ride is here for them.
Sydney Dobmeier "Warriors on Wheelz $7,360 raised for Ride for Roswell 2021"

What is your favorite part about Ride weekend?

My favorite part about the Ride Weekend is the community of riders and participants that are there to cheer each other on. From the beginning of the Ride to the end, with cowbells and everything, they let you know that they are there to support and appreciate what you are doing.

What have you been doing to raise funds for the Ride?

To raise funds for the Ride, I have done many things over the past few years – from selling baked goods to asking my family and friends to donate to my ride instead of giving me birthday presents. This year I have many ideas planned, including creating commissioned artwork, selling crafts and other homemade goods, and many other ideas that are still being put into action. This year I plan to use my creativity to come up with many different ways that I can make money and achieve my goal!

Featured Team: Team Madonia

Why does your team ride in the Ride for Roswell?

Team Madonia participates in the Ride for Roswell each year to honor the memory of Jacob Madonia. Jake fought a courageous 10 year battle with synovial sarcoma and passed away in 2018 at age 30. Though Jake was diagnosed at a young age, he never let cancer hold him back from the things he wanted to accomplish in life. He received his Masters degree and BSN from UB, he was a decorated collegiate athlete and became a devoted husband and father. Jake was not only a patient at Roswell, he was also a dedicated oncology nurse. He used his experience to educate others about his disease and push himself and his fellow nurses to provide superior care to their patients. His unique perspective made him an exceptional nurse who could connect with patients in a way many other nurses could not. Jake was special to so many people he crossed paths with in his life. Team Madonia is made up of family, friends, co-workers, and many others who had the chance to connect with Jake over the years in the different facets of his life. What brings us together each year for the Ride for Roswell is our mutual love for the incredible person we knew, our mutual heartbreak that we lost him much too soon to cancer, and the hope that our efforts will lead to a cure, so no one else has to lose someone as special to them as Jake was to all of us.

Team Madonia team member poses for photo
Team Madonia group photo

What is your favorite part about Ride Weekend?

My favorite part of ride weekend is lining up at the start line in my team shirt with all the Team Madonia riders knowing we are all there to fight cancer and honor Jake. I know he would be proud of us all.

What does leading a team mean to you?

I am honored each year to be captain of Team Madonia. Our team is comprised of amazing and compassionate people coming together to find a cure for cancer that robbed us all of one of our favorite people. I am incredibly proud of what Team Madonia has accomplished over the past several years.

Contact.

Office address.

Elm and Carlton Streets
Buffalo, NY 14263

Phone number.

716-THE-RIDE
(716-843-7433)

Proceeds directly benefit: